SUWON, Nov.12 (Korea Bizwire) – Chinese tourists are increasingly exploring destinations in Korea other than Seoul and Jeju.
There has also been a change in their travel patterns, with a shift from ‘just passing by’ to ‘staying for more than a day’ excursions. As a result, local governments are taking measures to attract Chinese visitors.
Three thousand employees of the Chinese headquarters of a Korean medical appliance company visited Korea for four days in September. The city they stayed in was Suwon, instead of Seoul.
The number of foreign visitors that sought accommodation at 28 hotels in Suwon was 382,666 in 2013, increasing 9.8 percent last year to 420,204. This year, 309,330 guests have visited to date despite the outbreak of MERS.
Among the foreigners staying in Suwon when visiting Korea this year, more than 80 percent were Chinese visitors working in the medical appliance industry.
Yongin, located near Seoul, is home to Everland amusement park and a Korean folk village, and is also seeing more and more foreign tourists. More than 900,000 foreigners including 700,000 Chinese tourists visit Yongin every year.
While only four new hotels have been built in the city over the past 10 years, Yongin’s municipal government granted business licenses to build six hotels this year to boost the tourism business targeting Chinese visitors. The local government made the decision in a bid to encourage tourists to stay longer, instead of just passing by. By recruiting tourism experts, and establishing public-private consultation bodies, Yongin is hoping to become the new ‘hot place’ for Chinese tourists.
Local governments that have international airports are also preparing measures to attract Chinese tourists, as the number of visitors that enter Korea through their gates instead of Gimpo or Incheon is increasing.
The local government of Chungju has started to develop its tourism infrastructure as 77 percent of the foreign visitors who entered Korea through Chungju international airport were Chinese.
Officials in Chungju are determined to develop content that can help put the city on the map, and provide entertainment to visitors. The number of twin bed rooms in hotels will be increased from 300 to 500 by the end of the year, as Chinese tourists have a tendency to prefer twin beds. The number of guesthouses, Hanok villages and homestay programs will also be increased.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)