South Korea Cracks Down on Hotel Price Gouging for Olympics

Posted By Jody Victor's Crew on Jan 31, 2018

As the 2018 Winter Olympics approach, the South Korean government is cracking down on price-gouging hotels facing heavy criticism here for ripping off customers.

South Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety announced it is running an intensive pricing clampdown from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31 ahead of the Pyeongchang Games, which start on Feb. 9.

The average rate for hotel accommodations recently spiked to over $460 per night, more than triple the normal peak-season prices, according to a report in South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. The government said it will also punish businesses canceling reservations and failing to meet hygiene and construction standards.

Call centers have been set up to receive customer complaints in multiple languages. The moves come as part of the government’s effort to boost ticket sales for the Pyeongchang Games, which have been sluggish overall but have picked up in recent weeks. Local hotel trade groups and the provincial government in Gangwon Province, where the event sites of Pyeongchang and Gangneung are located, are also pressing to get hotels to clean up their acts.

Olympic organizers are expecting more than 100,000 daily visitors to the Games, with around 60,000 staying overnight in facilities within one hour of the event venues.