February 20, 2019 13:33
Pets are no longer just consumers of canned or dried food, they are hotel guests and café customers, and businesses are adapting apace. Pet-friendly hotels are springing up everywhere, and now even condos and apartments are starting to lift their strict ban on residents' four-legged friends.
According to a study by the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, 5.11 million Korean families owned pets as of last year, or one in four. The Korea Rural Economic Institute forecast that the country's market for pets, which has grown at an average of 14.1 percent annually over the last three years, will be scaled at W6 trillion by 2027 (US$1=W1,129).
A growing number of homes built in Seoul and surrounding Gyeonggi Province in recent years have catered to pet owners. They were designed for pet owners and the companies that manage them even rent out pet-care equipment.
One apartment block that was built in August last year has specially coated floors designed to keep pets from slipping and falling and sound-proof windows to keep barking and other noises from being heard by neighbors.
One staffer at a housing unit exclusively designed for pet owners said, "Tenants mostly own many large dogs and moved here despite higher rents after facing complaints from their neighbors in their former residences."
More and more hotels in Seoul are setting up separate floors for pet owners and providing pet-care equipment to guests L'Escape, a boutique hotel run by Shinsegae, allocated 14 rooms on its ninth floor for pet owners. They have no carpets, and the hotel’s Chinese restaurant allows owners to bring their pets too.
Several hotels in Seoul like the Four Seasons Hotel and Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel allow up to two pets per guest. According to industry insiders, homes designed for pets are 15 to 20 percent more expensive than regular housing units. Also, hotels in Seoul charge an additional W30,000 to W250,000 per pet.
Park Joon-young at the Korea Pet-codi Association, which advises businesses and individuals on pet-care services, said, "We get a lot of inquiries by builders interested in building homes catering to pet owners. We will see a growing number of homes catering to pets as the pet-care industry is growing rapidly."
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