IHG plans major growth in South Korea
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is gearing up for growth in Korea, citing the success of its existing brands and identifying opportunities to expand its footprint in the market.
Leanne Harwood, IHG’s vice president operations, South East Asia and Korea, said: “On a regional level, we have our eyes firmly set on Korea. With a robust domestic market and a steady flow of foreign leisure and business visitors, our brands cater to guests from winter sports fans in the mountain resort town of Alpensia Pyeongchang, to corporate travellers in some of the major cities.
“Korea also represents a substantial outbound market for us, where Korean business and leisure travellers make a sizeable contribution to our network across South East Asia.”
Recent data from the Union of International Associations (UIA), which annually publishes the statistics of world conferences, identified Korea as the top ranking market for international meetings in 2016, achieving a market share of 9.5 per cent globally. Of the 997 international meetings in South Korea, more than half (54 per cent) were hosted in the capital of Seoul.
Commenting on the figures, Harwood said: “Korea has been stepping up its campaign to attract travellers and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions and we are well placed to serve this market.”
Korea’s profile will be raised next year, when it hosts PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“As well as putting the country front of mind amongst overseas travellers, the games are expected to attract 20 million tourists in 2018 and will see us welcome members of the International Olympic Committee to our hotels,” added Harwood.
IHG currently operates nine hotels across three brands in Korea – InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express – with a further hotel in the pipeline. To drive development opportunities, IHG has recently appointed Steven Choi as the group’s in-market development representative.
Choi will be responsible for expanding IHG’s presence in Korea and brings more than 20 years’ experience in hotel development, strategic planning, and consultancy. He will work closely with Serena Lim, the group’s newly-appointed vice president of development in South East Asia and Korea, to identify strategic growth opportunities and strengthen relationships with local developers.
Choi said: “I am excited to be back with IHG where I started my professional career back in 1993. There is huge potential for IHG in Korea. The scale and diversity of IHG’s brands means that our hotels can meet a variety of guests needs – whether attending a conference or even an Olympic event. I’m really looking forward to welcoming more hotels to IHG’s Korea portfolio in the near future.”