STB partners Kakao to lure in Korean visitors

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and South Korean internet company, Kakao, inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for digital partnerships, in Seoul, South Korea.

STB and Kakao will introduce Traveline Singapore, a dedicated mobile platform that promises to bring more relevant and compelling travel content on Singapore to Koreans.Expected to be available by the last quarter of this year, Traveline Singapore will rely largely on user-generated content to enable Koreans to discover more about Singapore.

With the new app, Koreans can also engage in real-time conversations with fellow travellers in the community for the exchange of ideas and travel tips. Location-based deals or promotions on shopping and dining will also be available upon arrival in Singapore.

This comes as South Korea ranks 9th out of 15 in top visitor source markets in 2015, with Singapore receiving about 580,000 South Koreans last year, a 7.5% increase over 2014. According to a study done by STB, in 2014, one out of  three arrivals from South Korea visited Singapore for business purposes. Of these business travelers, less than 1 in 10 were willing to extend their trip for leisure.

Yet, Koreans had 15.5 million outbound travellers in 2014, making South Korea the third largest outbound market in Asia Pacific, lagging only behind China (40 million) and Japan (17.3 million). As such, the potential to lure Koreans to Singapore, is immense.

STB and Kakao will be exploring other opportunities to offer more differentiated services to Korean travellers as well as the possibility of expanding the collaboration to other markets.

STB also found prior to the signing of the deal that although terrestrial TV and cable TV consumption is still relatively high compared to other media, South Koreans in their 20s and 30s are consuming more content online. Though mobile advertising has the lowest proportion currently, it experienced exponential  growth, increasing by 69% in 2014, said the STB study .

"As travellers become more discerning and digitally-savvy, it is important that we work with partners globally to tap into the opportunities that technology provides to create a seamless and personal visitor experience. The partnership with Kakao, a key digital player to reach our target audience in South Korea, is synergistic to our efforts in enhancing the visitor experience across the entire visitor journey," Quek Choon Yang, chief technology officer, Singapore Tourism Board, said.

"Through this MOU with the Singapore Tourism Board, we are looking forward to equipping Koreans with a mobile tool that can help them seek out hidden and attractive places in Singapore. Ultimately, they are able to enjoy their travel in Singapore with greater ease and convenience," Shin Jeong Hwan, chief technology officer, Kakao, said.