by Andrea Doyle | September 12, 2018
After restructuring from a public-private partnership into a wholly city-government-funded foundation this past spring, the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) has released its new public focus: "Value Tourism, Together with Seoul."

The organization's new vision and planned projects emphasize mutual growth and coexistence between local residents, tourists and the tourism industry.

Jaesung Rhee (pictured), former executive vice president of the Korea Tourism Organization and the president and CEO of the newly relaunched group, said one of the group's aims is to create a sustainable tourism city.

STO has also created a Discover Seoul Pass -- originally designed for international tourists, it gives free admission and discounts at major attractions for local residents and educational opportunities for Seoul residents -- and a 24/7 tourist complaint center. These projects have been created to help travelers, the local community, and the tourism industry to experience mutual growth and coexistence.

STO aims to create "tourism citizens," a term the organization recently coined to refer to not only international tourists but local residents and Koreans from other regions visiting Seoul.

STO held "Seoul Tourism Hearing Week" from August 27 to September 3, which included international tourists, tour guides, and representatives from hotels, convention centers and other tourism-related businesses who attended to voice their ideas for improving local tourism and promoting Seoul as a travel and meetings destination.

"The Seoul Tourism Organization plans to create more opportunities to share its projects, direction, and status and listen to the opinions of residents, visitors, and tourism industry professionals," said Rhee.
 
The Seoul Tourism Organization was first established in 2008 as a public-private partnership and restructured into a government-funded foundation in May 2018.