Hotels in South Korea are grappling with a new problem from Chinese tourists even as the facilities continue to welcome the visitors who bring in much-needed revenues.
According to a media report, hotels are complaining that Chinese tourists are dumping old clothes, shoes and other items on the hotel premises after buying new stuff during shopping sprees.
Chosun Ilbo newspaper cited hotel staff in Seoul as saying that the visitors are leaving behind trunks full of old items, causing a major headache to the operators of the facilities.
As the tourists buy new stuff, they feel they don’t need to carry back to China the old clothes, shoes and other items they brought with them when they entered South Korea.
Hence, trunks full of discarded stuff are left behind in hotel rooms.
Some visitors leave old suitcases and bags with the hotel concierges, promising to retrieve the luggage later. But they never return, leaving the hotel staff with the task of disposal of the stuff.
According to Chosun Ilbo, at least a dozen hotels in the vicinity of Myeongdong, one of Seoul’s most popular shopping districts, have complained about the “ditch-and-go” habits of Chinese guests.
And it’s not just the hotels which are facing the problem. The report says old trunks have been found at bus stations and even by the roadside.
Referring to the activities, one hotel employee described the Chinese shoppers as “snakes that shed skin”.
Apart from hotels, police are also annoyed as they have to deal with the luggage left in public places.
Local law requires the ditched trunks to be treated as lost items that should be kept in custody for as long as nine months.
The Chosun Ilbo story has spurred intense discussions among South Korean netizens, China’s Global Times noted.
One person commented that the Chinese people’s behavior is shameful and that it doesn’t reflect well on China.
While that was the majority opinion, there were also a few who urged South Koreans to reflect upon themselves.
One person said the image of overseas South Korean tourists is not much better than that of their Chinese counterparts.
While authorities will take note of complaints from hotel operators, it is unlikely that Chinese tourists will be shut out.
That is because officials are aware of the fact that the Chinese are the biggest spenders among all foreign visitors to South Korea, making them a key contributor to the nation’s economy.
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