|Jeong Chul, a tourism professor at Hanyang University and a member of its Smart Tourism Creative Human Resource Development Group|
Hanyang University has vowed to become a training center for future leaders of global tourism with its “smart tourism” program, which combines information and communication technology with tourism.
“Smart tourism is a very important field in (the government’s) Creative Economy policy,” said Jeong Chul, a professor of tourism at Hanyang University and a member of the school’s Smart Tourism Creative Human Resource Development Group.
According to Jeong, smart tourism is an affordable, highly efficient system that uses ICT to develop tourism policies. He said it was in keeping with what the government is pursing via its Creative Economy, the convergence of IT and conventional industries.
There can be a wide range of applications for smart tourism. For example, the government-led “creative economy vitamin project” launched a smartphone application that can provide information about historical sites to tourists.
With Korea welcoming over 12 million tourists for the first time in 2013, the tourism industry has become one of the most promising and profitable sectors in the country. The government, mindful of the importance of tourism, included the field in the Brain Korea 21 Program for Leading Universities and Students, or BK21 Plus.
The BK21 Plus aims to enhance research competitiveness in science, technology, humanities and the social sciences by providing education at the graduate level for a select number of students.
The 54 programs from 41 universities around the country will receive funding and other support to train talented students who can contribute to the government’s “creative economy” policy.
Last year, Hanyang University became the only university in Korea to have its specialized training program in the tourism sector selected for BK21 Plus.
Jeong said Temple University in the U.S. is a perfect example of a school working in tandem with the government to cultivate tourism industry professionals.
The professor said his goal was to make Hanyang University an international leader in smart tourism. “We will be the Samsung of smart tourism,” he said.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)