SEOUL, South Korea -- Korea suspended the 10% value added tax on
hotel room rates through December 2002.
The move was designed to boost travel to Korea during this
year's national tourism campaign, "Visit Korea Year," and next
year's World Cup soccer tournament.
"This represents greater savings for visitors to Korea on top of
our already excellent exchange rate," said Kwang-Ho Kang, director
of the Korea National Tourism Organization's New York office. The
exchange rate is nearly 1,300 Korean won to the U.S. dollar.
Kang said that with the VAT suspension, favorable exchange rate
and "Visit Korea Year" discounts, Korea offers U.S. visitors some
of the most competitive prices in the region.
U.S. leisure visitors typically spend two weeks touring Korea,
while business travelers spend about one week, according to the
Despite record occupancies and rates, Korea's upscale hotels are
still considered a bargain compared to luxury hotel prices
elsewhere in the region.
At the upscale Shilla in Seoul, for example, the average daily
room rate during the high season (April through June and September
and October) is $175. Hotel occupancy averaged 81% last year.
Some 37 U.S. and international tour operators are offering
packages during the "Visit Korea Year" campaign.
For additional information on the "Visit Korea Year" promotion
and participating operators, call (800) TOUR-KOREA.