People saying “crazy” when she turned to Middle East and Europe
Earned $9.54m and attracted 13,800 tourists last year
“In 2006, as I began this business, I announced to establish branches in the Middle East and Europe. Everyone tried to dissuade me from doing so. No one at the time thought Europeans would ever come to travel in Korea. Some even called me “crazy.” But 7 years later, I was proven right.”
Han Junggyue, Representative of Jane Tour & DMC, an inbound tour operator, recalled the struggles when she first opened office. She was right to predict that inbound tourism market, which was then limited to Japan and Southeast Asian region, would diversify into Europe and the Middle East, and she successfully overcame what others thought was “a foolish challenge.” Last year alone, the company recorded $9.54 million in profit, attracting 13,800 foreigners into the country. The agency now operates 6 branches including the one in Busan. For all these achievements, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism awarded her with the $5 Million Tourism Promotion Tower, which is given to companies that contribute to the acquisition of foreign currency, on the 40th Tourism Day (September 27). .
“I was able to attract tourists from 40 countries by spending almost 9 months a year in the field myself. The key to success is to be earnest in all relationships rather than overlooking them. 8 years ago, I was working as a tour guide at an Indonesian branch of a global company, and the manager at the time introduced Jane Tour & DMC to a Malay branch, which ended up in another successful contract this year. That’s the power of relationship.”
She studied Journalism and Broadcasting at Joongang University. After graduation, she worked as a stewardess at the Korean Airlines. She first entered the tourism business when she became a tour guide at Tour & Travel Center for US Armed Forces in Korea. For 30 years onward, she gradually became acclaimed as the best guide for introducing Korean history, culture, and tourist attractions through “storytelling.” From a stewardess to a guide, and then to an entrepreneur at the age of 50, she challenged herself endlessly, and she is as eager as experienced to share that experience with young women. In fact, last July, she was appointed as a key mentor of Cyber Mentoring, a program run by Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
“I was once a working mom of 3 children, so I know what it feels like to see your career take a hit. I repeated countless trials and errors because there was no one to help me out. I want to reach out to other young working moms when I can so that, unlike me, they can take the easy road.”
Han is now gearing up for a new challenge. Her new goal is to halt past 7 years’ aggressive marketing and train employees to turn Jane Tour & DMC into a high-end brand. “Until now, I visited overseas sites myself, but now I’m planning to give employees the opportunity to display their ability,” said Han. She is also aiming to construct office building within 3 years and company housing for employees within 5 years.
She is also taking the lead in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities. Last July, she donated 30 million won for rebuilding education facilities for residents in Navotas, an impoverished city in the Philippines.