In July 2009, Charm Lee, President of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), was appointed as the first German-born naturalized Korean to lead a state-run enterprise. Coming from Germany in 1978, Lee became a Korean citizen in 1986 after being inspired by the creativity and future potential of Korea. Before being appointed as the head of the KTO, Lee worked as a committee member of Visit Korea Year, Seoul City ambassador, and a member of the Hanshik (Korean traditional food) Globalization Promotion Team. Under Lee’s unique management philosophy and initative, last year, the KTO managed to receive the highest evaluation mark by the Korean government, which is an unprecedented achievement. The next few pages are excerpts from the interview KTO President Charm Lee gave to Asia-Pacific Business & Technology Report.
In the past, Korea’s tourism industry was criticized due to its low stature and lack of tourism resources. What attempts are being made to enhance Korea’s tourism competitiveness under your leadership?