There are some 30 taekwondo clubs in Ireland and sports tour operators and travel agents can tap into this niche market when a €160 million “world mecca” for this and other martial arts opens in Muju County, Korea, this coming April.
Ramy James Salameh, PR Manager at Korea Tourism Organisation’s London office, told ITTN: “The UK & Ireland is one of Korea’s top performing markets. There was an overall increase of 12% in UK & Ireland visitors in 2013 and 8% in Irish visitors to 7,600.
“Cruise, MICE and medical tourism are three key areas for us. Cruisers can visit three countries – Korea, China and Japan – on one cruise and we have been promoting health and wellbeing – Korea offers the latest medical technology and still at competitive prices. Korea also offers 20 National Parks, 10 UNESCO sites and, in 2018, the Winter Olympics.
“Opening in April 2014 will be the new Taekwondowon, a 2,314 sq km ‘mecca’ for sports people worldwide, including a 5,000-seat Taekwondo arena. We are talking to Irish sports tour operators and Club Travel and have our sights on high-end consumers. Visitors can get a 90-day free visa.”