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[SMA Insider] Global Tour, the company that began to write the history of Korea’s travel industry

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2020-02-04

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Q. How did Global Tour come into being back in 1960 when travel business was unfamiliar?

Global Tour was established by Chairman Oh Se Joong who founded the company with the spirit of challenge. Chairman Oh believed that travel business would grow fast as the era of airplane started, thanks to the development of a jet as a new mode of transport.


Q. Global Tour celebrated the 60th anniversary this year. What are the factors behind Global Tour’s long-term survival while many travel agencies experienced ups and downs and

some disappeared into history.

I believe rigorous employee training is the key to our success. We’ve been putting a lot of efforts in training our employees using various programs. We have discussions on case studies to better understand in order to raise customer satisfaction and reflect latest industry trends in our business. Strong trust-based management relationship built upon autonomous management system we adopted early on is another factor that has contributed to our longevity.


Q. Global Tour introduced package tour products and travel vouchers for the first time in Korea. What is the secret behind getting such insights?

Global Tour, as a travel agency that pursued globalization of travel business, began exchanges with foreign travel agencies and organizations a long time ago. While communicating with international travel organizations such as PATA and ASTA, we were able to learn how the travel industry advanced itself in affluent countries with higher GNP than Korea. We benchmarked them to boost Korea’s travel industry and in that process we launched package tour products and travel vouchers. Those products were well received in the market and helped position Global Tour as a leader in the industry.


Q. Global Tour’s journey so far may not have been all smooth. How did Global Tour overcome crises such as MERS or the THAAD retaliation?

Travel business is affected greatly by global politics. I believe the ground that we were able to overcome the crises caused by the unexpected developments in global politics was because we were diversified. Keeping a good balance between the inbound and outbound business enabled us to stay profitable despite the currency fluctuations. We diversified our business portfolio to cope with changing consumer trends and global industry trends as well. Also, we continuously think about what we could do more and better in a new era. “Korea Pass” which will be launched soon is also part of our this business diversification.



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Q. You must have met many tourists in your 28-year career in travel. Tell us about the most memorable tourist that you met.

It was a group tour for about 150 visitors from an NGO. We organized a docent tour at the National Museum of Korea to give them opportunities to study the essence and value of Korean culture. The docent tour was focused on the ten Korean national treasures including “Pensive Bodhisattva” and “Gold Crowns”. The docent gave in-depth explanation on those treasures. I felt very proud when I saw the participants enjoying the tour, appreciating the historic artifacts.


Q. Global Tour has a high share of inbound travel. What aspects of Seoul do you think make the city attractive to foreign tourists?

Seoul is a great city to travel around. It has perfect transportation and communication infrastructure. Public transport is easily accessible and inexpensive. Internet access is available everywhere. People are friendly. Furthermore, unlike many other countries where there’s nowhere to go after 7 or 8 o’clock at night, Seoul is a city with a dynamic culture that is awake around the clock. Seoul is the perfect destination for foreign tourists because it is safe and has perfect tourism infrastructure and diverse cultures.

Asked what Sebang means to him, Managing Director Kim gave a clear and succinct answer, “Global Tour is my life”. For 28 years after joining Global Tour as a new recruit he has devoted, his life to Global Tour – he even met his life-long partner in Global Tour – and he said he would continue to do so in the future.


He said,

“I will do my best to foster new talent so that Global Tour will become a 100 years old company.”

From his remarks, we could sense his pride and a sense of responsibility for Global Tour .