Posted December. 03, 2009 07:25,
An aggressive government plan to sell hotel packages to Koreans and foreigners has netted just four sales over a one-month period.
Five five-star hotels in the city teamed up with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Korea Tourism Organization to sell hotel packages, with little success. Experts blame the poor results on the two government bodies, whose promotional activities for this plan were nothing more than an attempt to show off their policies.
The city government ran Seoul Grand Sales between Sept. 26 and Nov. 25 to attract tourists, including promotion of cultural events, provision of shopping information, and offering of coupons over the two-month period.
Last month, the city even cooperated with the tourism authority to sell hotel packages of five-star hotels in Seoul: the Grand Ambassador Seoul, the Ritz-Carlton Seoul, the Shilla Seoul, Oakwood Premier Coex Center, and Imperial Palace Hotel.
The hotels said yesterday that they separately designed packages for the event, but that only the Grand Ambassador and the Imperial Palace Hotel sold two each. The packages had different details but mostly consisted of a room for two to four people, fitness center passes, tickets for the hit show Nanta or breakdance performances, coupons for use at duty-free shops, and complementary beverages.
The packages were priced between 300,000 (260 U.S. dollars) and 800,000 won (693 dollars) per night.
In contrast, hotel packages offered by the hotels outside of the tourism promotion program sold well. For example, the Grand Ambassador Seoul sold 350 Ambassador packages over the two months and more than 200 of the Imperial Palace Seouls Lovely Jewelry packages were sold over one and half months.
Critics say the city and the tourism authority needlessly intervened in the planning of hotel packages despite lacking expertise in the field. For example, the five hotels were forced to offer in the packages limousine service, something that they had stopped due to low customer satisfaction.
A staff member at one of the hotels said, People of all nations will laugh at hearing that five five-star hotels sold just four hotel packages in a month.
In the run-up to Visit Korea Year 2010, the Korean government has struggled to nurture the domestic tourism industry. For example, President Lee Myung-bak has held a meeting on strengthening the competitiveness of Koreas tourism industry, but officials on the frontlines of the campaign have failed to produce results.
A Seoul city official said, Our strategy to issue coupons for encouraging tourists to shop or watch performances was successful. We made our first attempt to sell hotel packages this year. From next year, well work on solving problems.