Destination: Korea World Travel Fair (2010)

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Feast your eyes on dozens of countries and every part of South Korea – the Korea World Travel Fair is a chance to learn more about traveling Korea and the world than, well, traveling Korea and the world. An overwhelming variety of information and stuff to see is pretty standard for a ‘international’ or ‘world’ festival – yet this one actually had an extensive international presence.

Held in one of the larger exhibition halls at COEX from June 3rd – 6th, at least a hundred different booths hailed from all corners of South Korea and the world. Roughly split into halves, the Korean half and the ‘rest-of-the-world’ half got roughly the same amount of traffic. The booths along the hall’s walls served media, publications, and more than a few sales booths quite nicely.

Feast your eyes on dozens of countries and every part of South Korea – the Korea World Travel Fair is a chance to learn more about traveling Korea and the world than, well, traveling Korea and the world. An overwhelming variety of information and stuff to see is pretty standard for a ‘international’ or ‘world’ festival – yet this one actually had an extensive international presence.

Held in one of the larger exhibition halls at COEX from June 3rd – 6th, at least a hundred different booths hailed from all corners of South Korea and the world. Roughly split into halves, the Korean half and the ‘rest-of-the-world’ half got roughly the same amount of traffic. The booths along the hall’s walls served media, publications, and more than a few sales booths quite nicely.

One of the first things you’re likely to see after walking in – a nice reminder about the Formula 1 race to be held in Korea later this year.

A long line waiting to play a game – Korean Air was promoting the types of planes it uses. You won’t see that international presence until you get away from the entrance, though – the Korean Air exhibit monopolized the entryway. A display showed the airline’s luxurious new seating, complete with lay-down seats and surprisingly large TV’s.

A fairly typical display – dozens of brochures, a large-screen TV showing a two-minute loop of the virtues of the land or the people, and a friendly employee who spoke limited English. In some cases the English brochures were on the table for foreigners to grab; other booths kept them stocked underneath. Why? Either they’re bigger, or there just wasn’t the demand for them – the Lady in Red and I only saw a few foreigners visiting the exhibition. More than a few were part of the show or the exhibition, though.

A decent display for Andong. We’ve been there recently for a day – a nice place to meander or take a tour.

Another provincial display – plenty of makgeolli (fermented rice wine) to try or buy.

While not as interesting to the adults, a few kids and college students took the opportunity to dress up in someone else’s clothing. A map in the back showed a list of countries that were supposedly represented – some of the clothes must have been in boxes, as there’s no way there were 100 countries’ clothes here.

Getting into the ‘World’ half of the fun – no nationality was specifically mentioned on the outside, or anywhere in the booth that I saw. Plenty of colorful jewelry and clothing could help you forget to ask, however.

One of the largest displays – China’s tourist display likely rivals what’s happening at the Shanghai Fair. A little disappointing that they were only catering to the Korean audience – I saw nothing in English.

The 2nd largest display – Japan. A bit more eye candy, although we were carrying full bags of information by this point.

Some puppets from Bangkok, Thailand – I’d love to see these things in action.

A number of acts and presentations filled the main stage – this one featured some Filipino dancers and musicians. Both the Lady in Red and I thought it was South American until we saw the cell phone danglies they were handing out.

The Turkish ice cream guy in the corner had a brisk business of tormenting kids – flipping the cone around, just out of reach, then ultimately pulling the ice cream out of the cone. You’ll occasionally see other vendors around Seoul, but this guy had the routine down pat.

An entertaining ‘pedal-powered’ display. Pedal and be taken through the world of Samcheok on the east coast. Hey, we’ve been there as well 🙂

That every city, county, and country represented offered brochures, maps, and booklets on themselves was wonderful – and a shame that only a handful of foreigners appeared to be visiting. Quite a few people came from around the world in support of their country’s booths, although few were milling around to enjoy the sights and sounds. One notable absence: the United States. Either the country opted not to send their representatives, or Korea isn’t a lucrative enough market for Korean tourists going to the U.S. – read into that what you will, but I’ll be going through the 7-8 pounds of tourist materials I picked up along the way.

Ratings (out of 5 taeguks):

Ease to arrive:

Foreigner-friendly:

Convenience facilities:

Worth the visit:

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