Korea is once more rising up both the ICCA¹ and UIA² rankings for top convention destinations, and visitor numbers are increasing 10% yoy, (currently 15,000,000). Korea also looks to welcome the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games to Pyeongchang, which will see the high speed KTX train linked from Seoul direct to the games within an hour.
Hotels are also on the rise, adding to last year's heralded opening of the Four Seasons in Seoul, with a number of new hotels just opened and more slated within the next couple of years.
The latest boutique hotel to open in the in the midst of downtown Seoul’s cultural quarter is a new Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel, Hotel28 Myeongdong; promising a cosmopolitan city escape with cinema and rooftop restaurant.
Shilla, the luxury 5* brand with properties in Seoul and Jeju has opened a new brand - Shilla Stay, a modern, urban brand, designed by minimalist Piero Lissoni - now with 9 properties across Korea, the most recent this month.
Not to be outdone, the 5* Lotte Hotels and Resorts has also expanded with a new lifestyle boutique brand L7 this January, and a Super luxurious, Signature L to open Seoul March 2017. They have also been busy launching their Lotte City business hotels over the 18 months. And come 2018 their new 6* will open in Busan.
Accor's Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon opened in Songdo late last year, modelled on the hanok style. It delivers stunning spacious rooms, each with their own courtyards, making for a charming property in Central Park, set against the futuristic skyscrapers and Tribowl, in the sustainable city of the future, Songdo, just 20 minutes from Incheon International Airport.
Also within a few minutes of the airport, Nest hotel also opened its doors in 2015, a Design Hotels property, it offers Brutalist architecture, and stylish accommodation with the new Maglev train link direct to the airport only minutes away.
On Jeju Island the Jeju Booyoung Hotel & Resort also opened last year. Add this to the heady mix of 5* international chain hotels from Hyatt, IHG, Marriot, and strong 4*s Korea can deliver a VIP incentive, multi roomed meeting, large conference or simply accommodate all categories required of an international convention.
¹ 13th in 2015 ICCA Rankings published May 2016
² 2nd in 2015 UIA Rankings published June 2016
(All images courtesy Korea Tourism Organisation)