Esports Korea

Korea to create sports-themed tours for young travelers

Korea is set to create sports-themed tours specifically designed for young travelers. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, along with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), announced their plans to launch esports and sports-focused tour programs aimed at attracting the younger demographic. Recognizing the growing popularity of esports, Korea aims to promote itself as an esports destination, leveraging its infrastructure, professional players, and elite academies. The KTO also plans to introduce sports-themed programs, such as national park trekking and bike riding courses, as well as winter sports tours. These initiatives hope to capture the interest of young, independent travelers who seek unique and personalized experiences.

Korea to create sports-themed tours for young travelers

Overview

Korea is set to launch sports-themed tours targeting young travelers in order to unlock the potential of inbound tourism. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, along with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), aims to capitalize on the popularity of esports and other sports activities to promote the country as a destination for avid game fans and sports enthusiasts. These themed tours are designed to attract young, independent travelers who prefer to plan their own itineraries based on their personal interests.

Esports-themed Tours

Esports has emerged as a key pillar of Korean culture and tourism. With its well-established infrastructure, including professional players with global followings and elite academies, Korea is perfectly positioned as an esports travel destination. The KTO plans to leverage this advantage by organizing marketing events in 25 cities around the world and partnering with local LoL professional players, influencers, media, and tour agencies to offer guided tours. The goal is to position Korea as the go-to destination for esports enthusiasts and create unique experiences for them.

The success of esports in Korea was highlighted by the inclusion of seven esports games, including League of Legends (LoL), as an official event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. Korea’s esports teams performed exceptionally well, winning four medals and securing second place after China. The global esports market is also on the rise, with a projected revenue of $1.87 billion by 2025 and an estimated global audience of over 640 million. By capitalizing on the popularity of esports, Korea aims to attract fans from around the world and further boost its tourism industry.

The esports-themed tours will offer a variety of experiences, such as mega fan meetups with Korean professional gamers, LoL coaching sessions, visits to national LoL clubs, and opportunities to immerse in the local PC room culture. These programs are set to launch in the fourth quarter of this year and will provide a unique and immersive experience for esports enthusiasts visiting Korea.

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Benefits of Esports Tourism

Esports tourism offers numerous benefits for both travelers and the tourism industry. For travelers, it provides an opportunity to engage with their favorite games and professional players on a global scale. It allows them to attend live matches, meet their idols, and experience the excitement of gaming events firsthand. Esports tourism also fosters a sense of community among fans from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries who share a common passion for gaming.

For the tourism industry, esports tourism brings in a new wave of visitors and boosts the local economy. Hosting esports events and offering themed tours creates a demand for accommodations, transportation services, food and beverage establishments, and other tourism-related businesses. It also helps promote the image of the host country as a technologically advanced and culturally vibrant destination. Through esports tourism, Korea can attract a younger demographic of travelers and position itself as a leader in the global esports industry.

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Marketing Events and Guided Tours

To promote the esports-themed tours, the KTO plans to organize large-scale marketing events in 25 cities worldwide. These events will feature exhibitions, esports competitions, and interactive experiences to showcase Korea’s esports culture and infrastructure. Local LoL professional players, influencers, and media will be invited to participate and promote the tours to their fan bases. The KTO will also collaborate with tour agencies to create guided tours that cater specifically to esports enthusiasts.

The guided tours will offer a comprehensive and immersive experience for visitors. They will include visits to iconic esports venues, behind-the-scenes access to professional gaming teams, opportunities to interact with players and coaching staff, and participation in esports tournaments. The tours will also highlight the cultural aspects of Korea, allowing visitors to explore the country’s rich history, culinary delights, and tourist attractions.

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Programs and Experiences Offered

The esports-themed tours will offer a range of programs and experiences to cater to different interests and preferences. Some of the key offerings include:

  1. Mega Fan Meetups: Fans will have the chance to meet their favorite Korean professional gamers and interact with them in person. They can get autographs, take photos, and engage in casual conversations with their idols.
  2. LoL Coaching Sessions: Visitors will have the opportunity to receive coaching from experienced LoL players and improve their skills under their guidance. These coaching sessions will provide valuable insights and tips for aspiring gamers.
  3. National LoL Club Visits: Participants will visit the training facilities of top-tier LoL teams in Korea and witness their rigorous training routines. They can learn about the professional gaming industry and gain a deeper understanding of the dedication and hard work required to succeed.
  4. PC Room Culture Experiences: PC rooms, also known as gaming cafes, are an integral part of Korean gaming culture. Visitors will have the chance to immerse themselves in this unique gaming environment, experience the thrill of competitive gaming, and socialize with local gamers.

Additionally, the KTO will launch sports-themed tours that go beyond esports. These tours will include activities such as national park trekking, bike riding courses, winter sports tours, and Taekwondo-themed experiences. These programs aim to cater to a wider range of interests and attract visitors from Southeast Asian countries and Australia, where snowfall is limited. By offering diverse options, Korea aims to position itself as a multi-faceted destination for sports enthusiasts of all kinds.

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Sports-themed Tours

In addition to esports-themed tours, Korea is also rolling out sports-themed tours to cater to a broader audience. The country’s natural landscapes and sporting heritage make it an ideal destination for outdoor activities and sports experiences. Some of the key sports-themed tours include:

National Park Trekking

Korea is known for its beautiful national parks, which offer stunning landscapes, hiking trails, and unique flora and fauna. Trekking tours in national parks provide an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in nature, explore scenic trails, and enjoy breathtaking views. These tours will be designed to accommodate different skill levels, ranging from easy hikes for beginners to challenging routes for experienced hikers.

National Park Trekking, Korea

Bike Riding Courses

Bike riding has gained popularity in Korea, with the country witnessing a significant increase in interest in bike tours. Korea offers diverse biking routes, including coastal paths, mountain trails, and urban bike lanes. Bike riding courses will be designed to cater to different preferences, whether it’s leisurely rides along scenic routes or more adventurous off-road biking experiences. These tours will provide bikes and necessary equipment, along with local guides who will accompany riders and share insights about the surrounding areas.

Bike Riding Courses, Korea

Winter Sports Tours

Korea’s winter landscapes and ski resorts attract visitors from around the world. Winter sports tours will offer skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities in Korea’s renowned ski resorts. These tours will include equipment rentals, ski lessons for beginners, and access to well-maintained slopes suited for different skill levels. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of winter sports and experience the vibrant apr├Ęs-ski culture in Korea.

Yongpyong Resort in PyeongChang, Korea

Taekwondo-themed Experiences

As the birthplace of Taekwondo, Korea offers unique opportunities to learn and experience this traditional martial art. The KTO will collaborate with the Taekwondo Park in the alpine town of Muju, North Jeolla Province, to offer Taekwondo-themed experiences. These experiences may include Taekwondo training sessions, demonstrations by skilled practitioners, and cultural tours that explore the history and philosophy behind this iconic Korean martial art.

taekwondo

Target Audience

The sports-themed tours, including esports-themed tours, primarily target two specific audiences: young travelers and independent travelers.

Young Travelers

Young travelers, including millennials and Gen Z, are known for their love of gaming, adventure, and immersive experiences. They seek unique and memorable travel experiences that align with their interests and passions. Esports-themed tours, in particular, cater to their fascination with gaming and provide an opportunity to engage with their favorite esports teams and players. These tours offer a chance to witness the excitement of live competitions, participate in gaming workshops, and connect with fellow gamers from around the world.

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Young Travelers, Korea

Independent Travelers

Independent travelers prefer to plan their own itineraries and explore destinations at their own pace. They value flexibility, freedom, and the ability to personalize their travel experiences. Sports-themed tours, including outdoor activities and sports experiences, appeal to independent travelers who seek adventure and want to immerse themselves in the local culture. These tours provide a range of options and activities that allow travelers to customize their itineraries based on their preferences and interests.

By targeting these specific audiences, Korea aims to position itself as an attractive destination for young and independent travelers who are seeking unique, immersive, and active experiences.

Inbound Tourism Strategies

To support the development of sports-themed tours and boost inbound tourism, Korea has implemented various strategies and initiatives.

Aims for the 2023-2024 Visit Korea Year

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism aims to achieve 20 million tourist arrivals in 2024 as part of the 2023-2024 Visit Korea Year celebration. This target exceeds the pre-pandemic record of 17.5 million tourists in 2019. By leveraging the growing popularity of esports and sports tourism, Korea aims to attract a significant number of visitors who are interested in these themed tours. The Visit Korea Year campaign will focus on promoting Korea’s unique culture, diverse attractions, and thrilling sports experiences to a global audience.

Minister’s Meeting with KTO Overseas Offices

Culture Minister Yu In-chon recently met with the heads of KTO’s overseas offices based in 22 countries to discuss regional inbound tourism strategies. These meetings aimed to align the marketing efforts of the KTO and its overseas offices to effectively promote Korea as a sports tourism destination. By coordinating marketing campaigns, partnerships, and promotional events, Korea can maximize its reach and attract travelers from various international markets.

2023 Inbound Tourist Statistics

In 2023, Korea witnessed a significant increase in inbound tourists, with the number jumping by 245 percent compared to the previous year. This recovery represents a 63-percent rebound from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. The top countries of origin for inbound tourists were Japan, China, the United States, Taiwan, and Vietnam. This data highlights the growing interest in Korea as a tourist destination and provides valuable insights for developing targeted marketing strategies.

By implementing these inbound tourism strategies, Korea aims to position itself as a leading destination for sports tourism and attract a diverse range of international travelers. The focus on esports-themed tours and other sports activities allows Korea to tap into the passion of young travelers and cater to their interests, while also offering a variety of experiences for independent travelers seeking adventure and cultural immersion. With its well-established infrastructure, breathtaking landscapes, and rich sporting heritage, Korea is poised to become a premier destination for sports enthusiasts from around the world.