Houstonians visiting the capital of South Korea can now ride a high-octane roller coaster inside the world’s largest indoor theme park, look out at the scenic Yellow Sea from the Incheon Airport Railroad Express, fly over the Han River in a Helicopter and enjoy a variety of Seoul’s best hotels, museums, restaurants and bars – all for a discounted price.
These discounts, which will remain in effect until December of this year, are one of the benefits of a recent Memorandum of Understanding signed by Mayor Annise Parker of Houston and Mayor Park Won-Soon of Seoul. The coupons (attached below), in conjunction with a newly opened direct Houston-Seoul flight route, are designed to further increase intercity cultural interaction and travel, and pave the way towards stronger bilateral ties between the two cities.
In response to Seoul’s gesture, many of Houston’s key tourist attractions have reciprocated with their own discount coupons for Seoul citizens. Though Houston has a reputation as a business centric city, its tourism industry has rapidly expanded in recent years, topping the list in 2013 as No. 1 in the country for fastest growth in foreign visitors. Featuring such draws as the NASA Space Center, the Texas Medical Center and increasingly trendy hotspots such as Midtown and Montrose, Houston is steadily becoming a highly appealing destination for international tourists.
The MOU that was responsible for the coupon exchange was part of Mayor Annise Parker’s Trade Mission to South Korea and Japan in fall of 2014. During her stay, Mayor Parker toured the South Korean capital with a 30 member business delegation, initiated talks with Mayor Park Won-soon, signed the MOU and was granted an “Honorary Seoul Citizenship.” Due to this Trade Mission, and the resulting new Houston-Seoul flight and tourist coupons, Houston’s already robust relationship with South Korea is set to grow even stronger.