PYEONGCHANG, Feb. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Many hotel rooms in Pyeongchang and the surrounding area are vacant despite the influx of tourists attending the Winter Olympics, as reports of rip-off prices seem to have put tourists off staying in the area.
According to the latest figures from the Gangwon provincial government, only 45 percent of the rooms in the region were pre-booked as of early this month, with many rooms left vacant even on the first day of the Olympics.
Failing to benefit from the much-anticipated international sporting event, a growing number of lodging owners in Pyeongchang and Gangneung are expressing frustration over the lack of customers.
One owner of a motel in Gangneung is pleading with sports fans to make a reservation now, even touting discounts.
“Once ice sports kick off, a growing number of visitors could see room prices go up. If the price remains the same, I will even give you a 50,000 won discount,” the owner said.
Another hotel in Pyeongchang is struggling to attract customers despite being located close to many of the Olympic venues, even with affordable room rates of less than 100,000 won.
Until a couple of months ago, lodging owners in Pyeongchang and the surrounding area were reportedly persuading visitors to take a day trip, instead of staying overnight, with many hoping to cash in later on the so called ‘Olympics effect’.
However, a series of reports on unethical business practices in the run up to the Winter Olympics were met with wide condemnation from the public, with many vowing to watch from home, and experts believe the negative media coverage has sowed a seed of doubt in many minds.
“With some owners setting their room prices too high, all the local accommodations are taking a hit,” said Oh Yeong-hwan from a local lodging association.
“Though it will be hard to find a room at hotels near the Olympic venues due to high demand, if you look a little further, it’s still easy to find a reasonably priced and decent room,” Oh said.
The average room rates in Pyeongchang are estimated to be between 145,000 won and 240,000 per night, according to data provided by the Gangwon provincial government.