As a lot of Chinese tourists are heading to Korea during China's national holiday week, which ends on Monday, local hotels are enjoying varying fortunes. Those in the mid- to low-price range in Seoul are seeing high occupancy rates but more expensive hotels are apparently not faring as well.
Recently, more Chinese tourists are choosing to organize their own trips rather than opting for monotonous package tours. Meanwhile, those who travel independently tend to spend more on luxury items in Seoul's affluent Gangnam area instead of hitting tourist spots in the downtown area. The trend is causing business hotels in Gangnam to report brisk business these days.
However, a number of five-star luxury hotels in Seoul are feeling the pinch as Chinese choose to save their money for their shopping sprees. Those with casinos nearby have bucked the trend, though, and have been fully booked over the Chinese holiday.
"Although the number of Chinese tourists visiting Korea has jumped, most luxury hotels aren't benefiting from this," said an executive at Lotte Hotel. "Rather, their business is sluggish as the number of Japanese tourists has decreased."
According to data compiled by the Korea Tourism Organization, the number of Japanese tourists to Korea from January to August dropped 26 percent from last year due to the weakening yen. It expects 150,000 Chinese tourists to visit Korea over this holiday week, up 64.5 percent on-year.