Korail has rolled out a tourism program that allows people to travel and take part in cultural activities, with the inaugural tour held Saturday.
Participants of the daylong tour, priced at 59,000 won ($52), traveled to the seaside city of Gangneung, Gangwon Province, for a concert featuring singers Paul Kim and Jeon Sang-geun, and musical actress Lee Ha-nee.
“Previous travel patterns were focused on ‘where,’ but we think ‘who’ you are going with is now more important. This is why we launched the ‘Celeb Tour’ program,” said an official from Korail.
Singer Paul Kim performs during a concert that was part of Korail’s “Celeb Tour” that took place at St. Johns Hotel in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Korail)
The company seeks to promote the program as one of its key projects for next year, with the second edition to feature renowned alpinist Heo Young-ho.
On Dec. 15, participants will set off from Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul to Odaesan in Gangwon Province, where they will climb the mountain with the man who completed the “Explorers Grand Slam,” reaching the North Pole and South Pole, and climbing the Seven Summits.
Korail said it plans to further expand the roster to include writers, celebrity lecturers and other well-known people.
For Saturday’s program, the concert ticket, round-trip KTX fare, bus fare and snacks were included in the package, with an option to stay one more day.
In addition to the concert, participants were given free time to enjoy the ocean and the well-known cafe street at Anmok Beach.
While the music and the beach were enjoyable, there was limited interaction with participating celebrities. For a program touted as “traveling with celebrities,” more segments with the stars could have been added to the experience.
The three singers were just there for the concert, and Paul Kim -- the biggest name of the three -- had to leave the stage without an encore to ensure the audience would not miss the train.
Overall, the program felt rushed. For example, a mere two hours were allotted to visiting the beach.
However, the quality of the content itself was satisfactory, and a definite bargain. A one-way trip to Gangneung from Seoul on a weekend costs 36,000 won.
Korail is also launching themed programs, such as a two-day trip to filming locations of the dramas “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” and “She Was Pretty,” and a two-day visit to beaches in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, both commencing on Dec. 22
For more information, visit the Korail homepage (www.letskorail.com).
By Yoon Min-sik