Korea will continue to see an influx of visitors in the coming years as it plays host to major upcoming sporting events ― namely the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as well as the 2020 Olympics in neighboring Tokyo ― on top of the constant tourist arrivals from other Asian countries, according to Paul Wright, general manager of Hyatt Regency Incheon.
“It should be an exciting time. … Korea is going to benefit with Tokyo holding the Olympics because more people will be traveling to North Asia. I think South Korea and Beijing will benefit from the flow of people stopping over to see another part of Asia. Tourism will do well in the next eight to 10 years,” said Wright during an interview with The Korea Herald ahead of the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, or Chuseok, on Sept. 17.
|Paul Wright, general manager of Hyatt Regency Incheon, speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald at the hotel on Sept. 17. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)|
Before joining the Hyatt Regency Incheon, Wright served as deputy general manager at the Grand Hyatt Beijing.
Hyatt Regency Incheon, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, boasts a prime location near Incheon International Airport, which receives some 45,000 passengers a day.
To meet the growing demand, the hotel is opening a new West Tower with 500 guest rooms next summer. The hotel will then have a total of 1,023 rooms and will be the largest Hyatt hotel outside of North America.
“Travel numbers will continue to grow. Incheon Airport is opening more runways and new terminals are being developed,” explained Wright. The hotel is also designated as a headquarter hotel for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
Even after the event, Hyatt Regency Incheon expects to see more business travelers attending conventions and meetings in Seoul or neighboring cities.
“When we combine the new tower with our existing tower, we will be able to look at mid- to large-size MICE business. There’s no real facility on the doorstep of the airport that can provide that,” he noted. MICE refers to the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions sector of the tourism industry.
The West Tower will feature a 1,350-square-meter ballroom that can accommodate more than 1,000 people. “People fly from all parts of the world to conduct their meetings and do their business and fly out without having to necessarily come in all the way to Seoul,” Wright said.
The hotel has developed a friendly image with Koreans so that it is popular among newlyweds staying overnight before flying out to their honeymoon destinations and for families staying for a getaway from the city.
“Some of the facilities we will be building in the West Tower will be family-friendly facilities such as apartment accommodation, a children’s pool and more to make a great family experience,” Wright said.
By Lee Woo-young (email@example.com