Tourists to Korea complain most about being ripped off, poor taxi services: KTO report

Foreign tourists wearing hanbok (traditional Korean dress) take a group photo at Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul, Wednesday. Yonhap

Foreign tourists to Korea are least happy with its shopping and taxi riding experience, a Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) report showed Sunday.The KTO said its Tourist Complaint Center received 902 complaints last year, seeing a significant increase compared to 288 in 2022.It said the number of complaints decreased between 2020 and 2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic but hiked last year as the tourism industry recovered.Of the complaints, 808 (89.6 percent) were made by foreign visitors.The highest number of complaints (215) was related to shopping, including price gouging, tax refunds and refund and exchange policies.“I bought a set of 10 foot masks after viewing the price at 8,000 won in combine, but later realized that I was charged 80,000 won. When I asked for cancellation, the seller told me to come back the next day because the store manager wasn’t present,” a Japanese tourist was quoted as saying by the KTO.Taxi service was the second-greatest inconvenience for foreign tourists, taking up 18.8 percent of the complaints (170). Problems included overcharging and refusing to turn on meters, drivers not being courteous with customers and deliberately taking longer routes for higher fares.

The Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Police Agency said Thursday it caught a taxi driver who tried to charge a Chinese tourist an exorbitant fare for a ride from Jeju International Airport to a hotel near Hamdeok Beach.The police said the taxi driver received 200,000 won when the taxi fare should have been 23,000 won and ordered him to return 177,000 won.Complaints concerning accommodations came in third.Among 142 reported cases, those related to poor facilities and hygiene accounted for 31.7 percent.The KTO and the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism vowed to cooperate with local governments to improve tourist convenience and foster regional tourism.“We will regularly inspect major tourist attractions to keep an eye on exorbitant pricing at cultural and tourism festivals. We will take tougher measures on illegal practices of taxi drivers and improve services for foreign tourists,” the KTO said in a report.The number of inbound tourists hit 11.02 million last year, up 245 percent from a year earlier. After a sharp drop from 17.5 million in 2019 to 2.52 million in 2020 and 970,000 in 2021, the number recovered to 3.2 million in 2022 and 스포츠토토존 exceeded 11 million last year.

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