Seoul, South Korea – 07 November 2013 – South Korea is worldwide known as the Mecca of digital communication. Most of the smart phones and tablets are manufactured in the technology companies Samsung and LG. But also the tourism is booming in the Asian country. Korean children as well as adults have more free time than in past times. Furthermore the number of foreign tourists increased in South Korea and more Koreans travel abroad. There are also some large Korean hotel projects in foreign countries. The Lotte Group plans to operate 40 hotels worldwide by 2018 to become one of the best hotel brands in Asia. Only in the South Korean capital Seoul currently 112 new hotels arise and with more than 19,000 rooms. This data has been revealed by TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the worldwide leading provider of global b2b hotel data.
The growing number of foreign tourists is on purpose. Since July 2006 the citizens of the People’s Republic of China, from some Southeast Asian countries as well as from India are allowed to enter the holiday island Jeju visa-free. Recently the construction of 109 hotels, hostels and vacation apartments with 5,831 has been approved. This number is higher that the number from the previous year. Also the construction of the Jeju Airest City, the largest vacation resort at Jeju, with an investment volume of 2,4 trillion Won is part of the plan. The project is a joint-venture of the Malaysian Berjaya group and of the Jeju International City Development Centers. Besides there are minimum six construction projects for hotels and vacation resorts from Chinese investors with an investment volume of more than 1,9 trillion Won in the pipeline.
Jeju intends to arise an Ocean Marina City in Seogwipo for 694 billion Won until 2021. The harbour in Seogwipo will be expanded for 178 billion Won for travel and leisure activities. Further 723 billion Won are designated for the development of a tourism resort in Jeju including a convention center and a computer games theme park. Furthermore a Jeju healthcare town should arise for about a trillion Won, invested among others by the Chinese Greenland group as part of the health tourism.
The increasing tourism is the main reason for several construction projects in Seoul. Currently in the capital 88 hotels and hostels with 13,487 rooms under construction and further 24 hotels with 9,503 rooms are planned. All of them will be finished until 2017. According to so far existing 167 hotels, 41 so called innovative hostels and 277 guest houses in Seoul the number of new hotels means a large increase within the next years. Also in Incheon and in Busan several hotels are currently in the pipeline.
There is an increasing national expenditure of sailboats and yacht marinas. In July 2013 the government published a strategy to encourage the cruise industry. Especially the construction of piers for large cruises, among others in Incheon and in Gangjeong at the vacation island Jeju (each for 150.000 ton ships) as well as in Busan (for 100.000 ton ships) will be promoted. Further piers for cruises in Yeosu and Gwangyang (both provinces of South Jeolla) are in discussion. At large cruises foreigners are allowed to play in casinos. The foreign commitment by Korean hotel chains is growing.
The number of Korean tourists who travel abroad increased from 5,5 million in 2000 to 13,7 million in 2012. Thus the interest of Korean hotel chains to operate hotels in foreign countries is growing. The Lotte Hotels & Resorts group operates eight hotels in South Korea and has opened new luxury hotels in Ho-Chi-Minh City (Vietnam), Moscow (Russia) and in October 2013 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Until end-2014 further hotels will open in Guam (USA) and in Cebu (Philippines). There are also plans for Hanoi (Vietnam) and Shenyang (China). Until 2018 Lotte plans to operate 40 hotels worldwide to become one of the top three hotel brands in Asia.
In the USA Korean Air is currently breaking down the Wilshire Grand Hotels in Los Angeles to arise a larger building. At the higher floors of the new 73-storey skyscraper a hotel with 900 rooms should arise. According to Korean Air the investment volume amounts more than a billion US-Dollar. The opening is scheduled for 2017.