|CICI president Choi Jungwha (center, first row) poses with members of the 5.4 Club during its first anniversary celebration event held in Seoul on Friday. CICI|
The majority of foreigners who visited Korea enjoyed Korean cuisine the most among the things they experienced in the country, a recent survey by the Corea Image Communication Institute and Cs found.
The email survey was conducted in celebration of the first anniversary of the establishment of the 5.4 Club, jointly founded by CICI and Cs to improve the experiences of foreign tourists in Korea. They surveyed 200 foreigners, many of them business CEOs and opinion leaders, about their experiences while staying in Korea.
They also asked 241 Koreans about their thoughts on Korean culture as a tourism resource.
Of the foreign respondents, 41.6 percent said they enjoyed Korean food the most, followed by sightseeing (20.1 percent) and recreation activities (12 percent).
Of the Koreans surveyed, 41.1 percent cited Korean food as what they would like to recommend the most to foreign visitors. Sightseeing and recreational activities followed suit with 32 and 11.2 percent, respectively.
Regarding the most inconvenient experience while staying in Korea, 80 percent of the foreigners cited environmental concerns, such as air and noise pollution, and 52.3 percent pointed to communication problems.
Meanwhile, 44.4 percent of the Koreans considered communication difficulties faced by foreign visitors as the most urgent problem to be addressed in the local tourism industry, and 16.6 percent cited the environmental conditions.
Some 60 percent of the foreigners said they found information about Korea through their friends and acquaintances, while 26.5 percent said they visited personal blogs and Facebook pages for information. Meanwhile, 62.7 percent of Koreans said they used online resources, such as blogs and Facebook, to find information before traveling overseas, while 21.2 percent said they used travel guide books.
Of the foreigners, 42.4 percent said they would visit Korea again for its traditional culture, while 32.8 said they’d visit again for its food.
The CICI and Cs, a consulting firm, celebrated the first anniversary of the club at Grand Hyatt in Seoul on Friday. Under the motto of “Feeling Korea through 5 senses and 4 themes,” the 5.4 Club was founded by Choi Jung-hwa, president of CICI, and Didier Beltoise, Choi’s husband and the CEO of Cs. The club’s members include artists; chief executives of businesses, newspapers and magazines; designers and diplomats. Jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun, pianist Kim Sun-wook, Chinese theater director Tian Qinxin and Korean-Canadian filmmaker Yi Sun-kyung are among the members.
By Claire Lee