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Yeosu gears up to handle Expo 2012 crowds

SOUTH Korea’s Yeosu City, which will host the World Expo in 2012, has rolled out a number of solutions to address the expected strain on accommodation supply during the event.

  16/11/2011 14:36
 

The Expo, which will run from May to August 2012, is expected to draw up to 100,000 visitors daily—or eight million visitors and participants in total.

The accommodation crunch will be exacerbated by at least five major congresses, including the Fourth East Asian Seas Congress 2012, due to take place during the Expo period.

Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily in Singapore earlier today, Yeosu City director of tourism Kang Seung-won said nine new local-brand hotels were currently being constructed in the city.

In addition, church- and temple-stays, motels, hostels and inns would be recommended as alternatives for Expo visitors, while hotels in nearby cities such as Busan would be promoted to spread overnight traffic.

Cruise ships might even be chartered and anchored to provide additional accommodation options.

Steve Yong, director, Singapore Office of the Korea Tourism Organization, said: “While we want to provide as much accommodation as possible, we have to maintain high standards. Motels and inns will be assessed very strictly to ensure they meet international standards, before we decide whether they are suitable for Expo visitors.”

Despite these efforts, Yong expects room supply to remain tight and rates to skyrocket.

“It is a free economy and there's nothing the local government can do to prevent hotels from raising their rates too high,” he said. “I advise travel consultants to encourage their customers to book rooms in advance, to avoid high prices closer to the date of the event.”

Meanwhile, Asiana Airlines, the official airline for Expo 2012, intends to offer special fares for group and FIT travellers during the event.

The carrier is also considering boosting its two- to three-daily services between Gimpo and Yeosu Airports, said H S Kim, regional general manager, Asiana Airlines regional sales office, Singapore. Source: TTG Asia

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