Seoul education officials on Monday had suggested that the government allow some hotels without adult entertainment establishments to be built near schools.
The proposal by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education focuses on specifying what hotels would be exempted from the ban under the government’s proposed revision of the Tourism Promotion Law. For example, “tourist hotels” would be subcategorized into “business tourist hotels” without adult facilities, and ones with such establishments.
The revision has prompted concerns about the facilities potentially being detrimental to the well-being of students.
The officials, however, denied the earlier reports that it would formally request the law revision.
While the law prohibits hotels from building within 200 meters of a school, the revised law would allow hotels without adult facilities to be constructed within the parameter.
Opposition lawmakers and civic groups protested the government’s plan, saying it jeopardized students’ well-being for the benefit of large corporations. They also said the revised version was vague about which would be categorized as hotels with “harmful facilities.”
“There is no reason for the government to prohibit family hotels and business hotels, as long as they have legally been proven to host no adult facilities,” said an official from the Seoul education office.
But local groups claimed allowing hotels to operate near schools can have negative effects on students. Even if the hotels themselves have no bars or clubs, they said they were are likely to attract businesses targeting adult guests.
“Once a hotel is built, (local citizens) are powerless to stop other adult-related stores from entering the area,” said Park Bum-lee, the chairperson of the National Association of Parents for Cham Education.
The Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice recently accused the government of trying to help Korean Air’s bid to build a luxury hotel by changing the law.
Korean Air has been seeking to build a hotel in Jongno-gu, central Seoul, a stone’s throw away from a girls’ high school and Gyeongbokgung Palace.
“(The government) must stop infringing on the students’ right to learn and destroying historical and cultural value, all for the profit of a conglomerate,” the group said.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)