The newly opened Ibis hotel in Insa-dong, Seoul, aims to meet the various needs of both business and leisure travelers, according to Patrick Basset, senior vice president of the Southeast Asian region of Accor Group.
Opened on Sept. 25, the fifth Ibis chain hotel in Korea has proven to be an attractive accommodation option for tourists as its occupancy rate during the first month reached 70 percent.
“We are performing better than expected,” said Basset, who manages major tourist destinations in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines, in an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday in Seoul. “This is a very good location close to the center of major activities in the city.”
|Patrick Basset, vice president of Accor Hotel Group for Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines, speaks about the opening of Ibis Ambassador Seoul Insadong during his interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)|
Ibis Ambassador Seoul Insadong is a few minutes away from major tourist spots in northern Seoul. It sits between two major palaces ― Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. Major shopping places are within walking distance such as Myeong-dong and Insa-dong.
The hotel features 363 guestrooms with an 80-seat restaurant and a bar, three meeting rooms and a business center for business travelers, a rooftop garden, fitness club and hot bath aimed at mostly Asian tourists, especially Japanese.
The hotel is also among many new hotel properties in Korea developed to serve the surging number of foreign tourists, especially from China and Japan.
To meet the growing demand, the Accor-Ambassador Group, a joint partnership in hotel management between the French hotel group and the Korean hotel group, decided to add a new property, just 2 kilometers away from its already popular Ibis Ambassador in Myeong-dong.
Under the joint partnership, the two hotel groups run 12 hotels in Korea, including the five-star Grand Ambassador; the five-star Pullman Ambassador Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province; four-star Novotel Ambassador in Gangnam, Seoul; and Novotel Ambassador in Busan; and Mercure Ambassador Gangnam SODOWE.
Basset says the reason for bringing in another Ibis is because of the brand value.
“Over 80 percent of hotels in Korea are actually budget and economy hotels,” he said. “The purpose of the Ibis is to introduce international economy brands in a sector that has many hotel rooms but where not many international brands are introduced.”
The Accor-Ambassador Hotel Group is expected to open a Novotel hotel in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, next year with four more construction projects scheduled in Korea, which will be added to the 12 hotels already in operation.
“We expect to see 17 hotels at the end of 2015 in Korea,” Basset said.
Basset predicted the growth of tourists will continue because of the “three main drivers in the Asia-Pacific tourism market.”
“They are China, India and Russia. They are three big markets that are driving tourist numbers in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
By Lee Woo-young (email@example.com