Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea, is rolling out the red carpet for the International City Tourism Awards to be held from June 1 to 5 at the Hotel Shilla.
The awards ceremony, the main event of the gala - which is also known as the Seoul Tourism Awards 2009 - will be held on June 4 at the hotel's Dynasty Hall.
Organizers say the event recognizes domestic and international tourism organizations and individuals that have made noteworthy contributions to the industry.
Nineteen awards, including 12 for organizations and seven for individuals, will be given in categories ranging from overall contribution to tourism policy, programs, online tourism, travel agencies, conventions and services.
Organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the event is also designed to enhance Seoul's image by building global networks to enhance the city's tourism and to create business opportunities.
As part of the effort Seoul will hold side events including the 2009 Seoul Tourism Forum where domestic and international tourism professionals will present proposals and their vision for the development of city's tourism. A travel mart for professionals in tourism worldwide is also part of the event.
About 200 domestic and international experts at the tourism forum will share their views and discuss conditions in foreign tourism and its future development. They will also discuss plans on how to make Seoul one of the great tourism cities in the world.
The travel mart from June 3 to 4 will include 70 tourism product buyers from 20 countries and regions including China, Vietnam, India, the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece.
Organizers say the venue will be a place to exchange services between foreign companies and local tourism agencies as well to publicize Seoul as a travel destination.
About 100 domestic sellers from 51 companies including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Hotel Shilla, Seoul Namsan Gugakdang, Chong Dong Theatre, the National Museum of Korea and Pleasant Seoul water taxis will take part to exchange information and to create actual business opportunities.
Medical institutions such as Kyunghee Medical Center, Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine and Anacli Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery will also be on hand to attract overseas "medical tourists" after the practice was permitted in recent amendments to the country's medical laws.
Organizers say Seoul has differentiated its tourism awards from existing events because it contributes to development of the local industry and are certain "it will become a festival known worldwide".
Source: China Daily