It is no secret that Košice is becoming an international city with professional events. Visit Košice is working on establishing new cooperation with foreign tourist operators. As a result, Jeon Heecheol from the second largest travel agency in South Korea visited Slovakia. We talked to him about what icaught his interest most in Košice during his visit.
Why did you come to Košice and for how long?
This is my first visit to Košice, and Slovakia as well. I’m here to learn more about this destination. I’ve been here for 4 days and I will stay for a few more. I work in a travel agency Modetour in South Korea so I came here for a trip around the city and to see what you have here. Maybe, we could introduce it to our guests as a new destination for travel.
What parts of Košice could be interesting to your clients?
In Korea, there is a growing demand for slow, peaceful and healing things these days. Košice really has that kind of mood, it’s very calming and quiet here compared to other places. Especially in the historical part of the city.
What’s the most striking difference between the local people and people in your home country?
To compare it with Soul – Soul is a very big city, like New York or Paris – everything is going really fast in it, it’s crowded, noisy and the nightlife is 24 hours. It’s a very different mood to Košice. I feel like Košice is more slow-going.
What have you experienced so far?
I attended the Art & Tech Days festival and a media art exhibition in the oldest preserved Synagogue in Košice. In the evening, I visited Tabačka Kulturfabrik and interacted with a computer which I later learned was called ERNEST.
What would you recommend to your clients?
When I saw Spiš castle from a distance I was taken aback and thought to myself that this is what Koreans will love. The castle is on the hills and the surrounding is very nice and magical. The weather was very good and I could see the High Tatras from the top. Koreans would love this.
I was hosted by Visit Košice and they took me on a trip to some UNESCO sites such as Morské oko, Church of the Relics of St. Nicholas in Ruská Bystrá and Domica cave. We explored Betliar and the Mausoleum of Andrassy family – I was impressed by how well preserved the chateau was. We also attended wine tasting in the Tokaj wine region.
Košice stands out to me for its mood and that everything important is close to the city centre so you can walk around and see everything in one hour. I also thought St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral was really beautiful.
Did you try anything from the local cuisine?
Yes, I fell in love with Slovak food, especially mačanka (mushroom soup). I tried it on the very first day I was here at a traditional local restaurant Villa Regia. They told me I might not like it because it’s very sour so I was a bit hesitant but once I tried it I loved it. I even ordered it the very next day at Slávia restaurant. I also liked halušky. Actually, in Korea we have a very similar food so that’s why it was familiar to me, it was a new take on something I already know.
As a Korean tourist, what would you like to experience when on a trip to foreign country?
Koreans love to experience historical things, do sightseeing of natural landmarks, and see the local architecture. They are really looking for the differences with Korea.
Are you planning to make campaigns for tourists to come to Košice?
These days, the tourist offer in Korea is very similar. That’s why I came here, to see new things and create a new itinerary for our guests.
As a recommendation, we suggested he’d visit the neighborhoods in our city and experience the socialist architecture firsthand. You can find these portrayed in the local book guide – City Cracker – which promotes the lesser seen part of Košice.