S. Korea braces for pet-friendly tourism

 Thursday, August 24, 2023 


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More lodging facilities and tourism infrastructure in South Korea are accommodating people who wish to travel with their pets.

This strategy by the domestic tourism industry and local governments targets such travelers given the sudden jump in the number of tourists who want to bring their companion animals.

Tourism industry sources on Wednesday said Sono International Co., the operator of Daemyung Sono Hotels and Resorts, recently opened food and beverage (F&B) venues at its resorts to pets.

Since early this month, companion animals have been allowed at 10 F&B establishments within Sono Belle Vivaldi Park in Hongcheon County, Gangwon Province; Sono Calm Del Pino in Goseong County, Gangwon; Sol Beach Yangyang in Yangyang County, Gangwon; Sol Beach Samcheok in Samcheok, Gangwon; Sol Beach Jindo in Jindo County, South Jeolla Province; and Sono Calm Geoje in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province.

Under law, an F&B establishment that allows animals to enter must have a space for them separate from that used by people.

In March, Sono International received approval from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy for special demonstration cases under a regulatory sandbox to allow guests to bring their pets to F&B facilities.

Only dogs and cats are allowed and they must be vaccinated against rabies. Any dog classified as fierce is also banned from entering.

Sono International’s pet-friendly campaign considered the difficulty of travelling with pets.

A survey released last year by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) found that lack of accommodations accepting dogs (55%), lack of restaurants and cafes accepting companion animals (49.5%) and lack of tourist spots (42.3%) were the main inconveniences cited when travelling with a pet.

With the number of companion animals surging and government support growing, tourism infrastructure allowing travelers to bring their pets is expected to further expand.

KB Financial Group Research Institute said in a survey that the nation as of late last year had 5.5 million households with 12.6 million companion animals, with a fourth of the population rearing pets.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and KTO in March held this year their inaugural “pet-friendly tourism city” contest to stimulate provincial economies by creating an environment featuring availability of tourism resources in a region for travellers with pets.

Ulsan and Taean County, South Chungcheong Province, in April were selected as the two local governments for the project.

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