The Korean Happiness Festival, the biggest and one-of-its-kind Korean event in the UAE to be held in November, will provide an overview of the rich cultural, musical and medical traditions as well as attractions in South Korea.
Organized by the Korean National Tourism Organization [KNTO] Dubai office and hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea, the festival will be held from November 1 to 3, at the Beach Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
This is the fourth year of the festival, though the previous three editions focused on the country’s medical tourism attractions and were organised under the theme of Korea Medical Tourism Convention. This is the first year when the festival is catering to a wide spectrum and concepts with its myriad attractions catering to different audiences.
The Korean Happiness Festival will comprise presentations by Korean doctors, representing leading hospitals and clinics in the country, painting concert by Korean artists, fusion music using traditional Korean instruments [An Jin Sung Haeguem Band], cooking class, sweets, kids’ zone with yacht remote control game and cartoons, besides beauty shows and Kpop zones for music fans.
Over 30 partners from Korea will participate in the festival, including the top medical institutes, beauty clinics and wellness centres. Some of the medical institutes have agreements with the UAE Ministry of Health.
In addition to major cosmetic brands from Korea, tourism ventures, travel agencies and government entities will also be present. Leading Korean cultural organizations will also provide free workshops for the visitors to experience the traditional Korean activities and culture.
His Excellency Kang Ho Park, Ambassador of Republic of Korea in the UAE, said: “The Korean Happiness Festival is a never-seen-before experience for everyone in the UAE. This is a unique opportunity to showcase and share the Korean culture in the UAE. This year’s festival is a bit different from earlier years, as the previous editions were primarily focused on medical tourism, which is world-class in South Korea.”
In his comments, Kang Kyoosang, Regional Director of Korea National Tourism Organization, said: “The number of visitors from Arab region to South Korea has shown an impressive increase over the past years. Therefore, this event aims to bring more attention to Arabs about Korea’s world-class medical service and attractive tourism resources. This is a unique celebration, as the Happiness Festival coincides with the Happiness drive across the UAE.”
In recent years, South Korea has proven popular among Middle Eastern medical travellers, and particularly from the UAE. A total of 3,384 patients from the UAE visited Korea for medical treatments in 2017. The average cost per UAE patient in 2017 was US$10,660, which is the highest expenditure among all nationalities per person undergoing treatment in Korea. Prominent treatments for UAE patients include malignant tumour, paediatric cardiac surgery and spinal surgery.
Apart from medical, tourism is also one of the top drivers for UAE visitors to Korea. A total of 10,990 tourists from UAE visited South Korea for leisure purposes in 2017. The key attractions for UAE visitors include visa-free entry for UAE national to visit Korea for 90 days, weather, touristic attractions in Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island, 24 hour shopping, theme parks, safety, friendliness and technologically advanced learning centre.