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Buyers concerned over Seoul's rising hotel rates
Karen Yue, reporting from Korea MICE Expo, Seoul, June 30, 2011

THE RISING hotel rates in Seoul, due to inadequate supply of business hotels, is making buyers edgy about selling the destination.


Some buyers at the ongoing Korea MICE Expo said current room rates for a four-star hotel could start from US$250 a night, while a full-day meeting package offered by a five-star international hotel could cost as much as US$100 per delegate.


When a major convention swings into Seoul, room rates offered by five-star hotels near the city centre and COEX can even hit the US$350 mark, according to WOW Corea Tour president, Elvis Lee.


The increasingly-stretched supply of MICE-friendly hotels in the South Korean capital is an issue the local government must address fast, said Kim Chulwon, president of Korea Convention Society.


“Room rates were already high to begin with, as land cost is high in the city," he said. "The government must do something to attract investors to develop more hotels here, perhaps by offering tax breaks.”


Although several hotels, such as Conrad Seoul, are due to open in the city, Lee explained that Seoul's successful destination branding, and the popularity of K-pop and South Korean dramas, which have fanned interest in Seoul as a leisure and MICE destination, meant that room rates were unlikely to soften much.


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