New markets – visa free travel for Koreans

Visa-free travel for Koreans to the United States began this Monday, a result of a long overdue (given their economic status as the 10th largest economy) change in US policy, that could significantly increase the number of visitors from the Republic of Korea (South Korea).  The first visitors somewhat predictably went to Hawaii and arrived at Honolulu international airport. Hawaii alone is expecting 80,000 additional visitors! That would be welcome relief for the beleaguered islands. The mainland too stands to gain from pent up demand particularly given the presence of substantial numbers of Korean-Americans in the North East and in Southern California.

The visa free regimen for Korea was part of an initiative launched by President Bush last month and includes six other nations: Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hospitality operators in gateway cities reeling from the current economic climate would do well to target Korea and some of the other wealthy and populous countries including Hungary and the Czech Republic.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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