The historic summit bringing together President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday could be a catalyst to eventually provide a major boost for the meetings industry.
The summit has the potential to strengthen relations between the two countries that could result in the easing of travel restrictions for the U.S. and its allies, including North Korea.
An informal survey of those in the meetings industry in South Korean found that most people are hopeful that the summit—and increasingly friendly relations between the two Koreas—could lead to other positive developments. South Koreans are cautious, however, due to the well-documented erratic behavior of North Korea.
“But it does feel different at this time,” Kim Baeho, director of the MICE planning team for the Korea Tourism Organization, told Smart Meetings in Seoul on Monday.
He is hopeful that the doors will again open to facilitate South Koreans traveling to their northern neighbor. North Korea is filled with hills and mountains, separated by deep, narrow valleys. South Koreans were able to travel to North Korea up until about 10 years ago, when relations between the countries worsened.
Kim said that such places as Mount Kumgong (Diamond Mountain) are very attractive destinations in North Korea.
Kim also noted that the tense situation between the two Koreas that existed before the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea—which North Korea participated in—wasn’t as alarming to South Koreans as was portrayed by media around the world. “South Koreans are calm and peaceful—and we have experienced these things before,” he said.