[Letters] Improve lodging for Chinese tourists

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[Letters] Improve lodging for Chinese tourists

During the New Year’s holidays, over 50,000 Chinese tourists visited Korea. Compared to the same period last year, the number of visitors increased by 53 percent, and revenue rose by 170 percent. The Korean tourism industry welcomes the boom, but Chinese tourists do not give very high marks for Korea.

Until last year, about 100,000 more Chinese tourists visited Korea than Japan, but that number was reversed during the New Year’s holiday season, as more Chinese chose Japan over Korea. The Japanese government has a plan to increase the number of Chinese tourists to 6 million by 2016. The visa process has been simplified, and Chinese service kiosks have been installed at airports in Japan.

The biggest inconvenience for Chinese tourists visiting Korea is lodging and accommodation. They often have poor service and facilities, as well as inconvenient reservation systems. Traditionally, the Chinese use hotels not just for lodging but for dining purposes as well. For example, hotels in China have well-maintained and prestigious banquet facilities, where a great part of their revenue comes from. On the other hand, in Korea, restaurants are often considered secondary aspects of a hotel. In order to satisfy Chinese tourists, Korean hotels should invest in and pay more attention to maintaining their dining facilities. Moreover, the number of Chinese students visiting Korea is rapidly increasing, and student-friendly accommodations should be provided.

They should also join hotel networks in China to proactively attract Chinese customers. It won’t be easy to cater to the fast-changing preferences and tastes of tourists by continuing to rely on travel agencies.

Im Dae-heui, director of the Center for Asian Studies at the Kyungpook National University.

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.
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