The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the way we live and work. Many of us have begun to question the necessity of commuting to an office. We’ve discovered we can be just as efficient and productive – if not more so – while working from home or other locations, and often achieve a better work life balance.
With its world-class business facilities, ranging from excellent transport to advanced IT infrastructure, plus an enticing range of post-work delights, Korea is well-placed to welcome bleisure travellers in the post-Covid world.
Korea, a country with both urban splendour and rustic charm; ⓒ Korea Tourism Organization
At the same time, being cooped up in lockdowns and contending with global travel restrictions has given us a serious case of cabin fever. All those delayed and cancelled plans are fuelling a pent up demand for “revenge travel”, where we can compensate for lost time with extended stays, add-on trips, and new experiences.
With global vaccination rates increasing and governments beginning to reopen their borders to international travel, bleisure and remote working are primed to take off. Future business trips will no longer just be about meetings and events – but engaging corporate programs, how business travellers can unwind in their leisure time, and where to add on a weekend.
A premium business destination
Following the Korean War in the 1950s, Korea underwent an economic revolution. The tiger economy accelerated at an astonishing speed, becoming one of Asia’s economic giants and a G20 member.
Today, Korea’s shipbuilding, logistics, automotive, electronics, and semiconductor industries are among the most advanced in the world. The country is home to the headquarters of huge conglomerates and international companies, with world-leading event space and business facilities.
The country’s soft power is also rising dramatically, with cultural phenomena comprising everything from K-Pop and Korean dramas to beauty trends and Korean cuisine gaining worldwide attention.
A geopolitically advantageous position between China and Japan also makes Korea an attractive destination for those doing business in Asia.
Incheon International Airport; ⓒ Incheon Tourism Organization
Incheon International Airport
Incheon is where most international visitors arrive: Incheon International Airport is a major aviation hub in Northeast Asia, with 88 airlines operating on 173 routes to 52 countries, including the UK. Meanwhile, the Port of Incheon is Korea’s largest international cruise terminal, equipped to board and land over 1,000 passengers per hour.
The city is a global business destination in its own right, with Fortune 500 companies and international organizations such as the UN, plus the Incheon Global Campus attracting young talent from all over the world.
But your bleisure travel will likely also take you to the capital Seoul, less than an hour away on the Airport Railroad Express (AREX), or to other cities such as Busan and Daegu, which are also well-connected with flights and the Korea Train eXpress (KTX).
In all major cities, you’ll be able to navigate to your meetings with ease on fast, reliable bus and subway services. Public transportation apps provide route and schedule information to further optimize your travel time.
You’ll find plenty of workspaces to suit the exact needs and scale of your business trip, from hotels with meeting rooms and conference facilities, to convention centers offering complete business packages, and cool co-working spaces. Short on time? Even major train stations are equipped with business facilities, from tables to beam projectors, so you can conduct your business upon arrival and immediately catch a train to your next destination.
The dense skyline of Yeouido; ⓒ Seoul Tourism Organization
Ubiquitous public Wi-Fi in more than 20,000 locations allows for convenient access to the internet, whether you’re on the bus, in a park or even on the street. Connection quality is also among the most advanced in the world, with 5G becoming the norm. Why sit inside an office in Korea when you could take your laptop to the park or the beach and enjoy the beautiful day alongside fast internet?
Surfyy Beach, Yangyang; ⓒ Korea Tourism Organization
Reward yourself after work
Once the meetings are finished, it’s time to relax. Korea has all the normal delights of world-class cities, from Michelin-starred restaurants to dynamic bars, but in the post-Covid world, many of us crave the outdoors and healing power of nature. Luckily, every major Korean city is close to gorgeous natural environments to explore, from beaches to mountain walks.
Mullegil, Chuncheon; ⓒ Korea Tourism Organization
In Gangwon Province, a three-hour drive from Seoul, you can sip cocktails at a beachside bar and go surfing, pitch a tent and relax by a tranquil lake, or hike along snowy mountain trails.
Bijarim Forest; ⓒ Korea Tourism Organization
Jeju Island, a one-hour flight from Seoul, is a tourism hotspot even among Koreans. The volcanic island is home to a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve, World Heritage sites, and a global geopark. The unique landforms and rare flora and fauna leave visitors with a deep appreciation of our planet’s beauty, while the island’s five-star lodgings and diverse attractions satisfy other relaxation needs.
Sunrise Peak; ⓒ Korea Tourism Organization
Wherever you are in Korea, you will find dullegil – new coastal walking routes that have been installed as part of a government initiative to promote wellness. Dullegil routes are a great example of a sustainable tourism resource, offering scenic environments free from air pollution, a mindful space to regroup and find your inner peace, and a place to simply enjoy nature.
Daegwallyeong,Pyeongchang; ⓒ Korea Tourism Organization
Korea: The one-stop bleisure travel solution
The new work-life blend is a step-up from the work-life balance, and it offers more opportunities to maximize job satisfaction and personal contentment.
Bleisure travel is the embodiment of this, allowing us to ditch the traditional office set-up for new and diverse experiences – all while becoming more recharged and nourished.
With its world-class infrastructure, convenient transport and multitude of relaxation options, Korea is the perfect choice to explore the new world of post-pandemic bleisure travel.
This article was brought to you in association with the Korea Tourism Organization.