(From left) Ctrip CEO Jane Jie Sun, Ctrip chairman and co-founder James Liang Jianzhang and Hotel Shilla President Lee Boo-jin. [Photo by Hotel Shilla]
Hotel Shilla, one of South Korea’s top three duty-free store operators, moved fast to ride on improving relationship between Seoul and Beijing by expanding partnership with China’s largest online travel agency Ctrip ahead of major holiday season.
The Korean luxury hotel chain and duty-free outlet operator said Thursday its chief executive Lee Boo-jin on Wednesday met with James Liang Jianzhang, a founder of Ctrip, and Jane Jie Sun, chief executive of Ctrip, in Shanghai, China to discuss various ways to bolster cooperation between the two companies on promoting Chinese tourists’ visit to Korea.
Ctrip is an online platform in China offering travel-related services such as accommodation booking, flight reservation, and tour packages. With over 300 million users, it has branched out to 17 cities in China including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
The meeting came weeks before China’s two major holidays of Mid-Autumn Festival between Sep. 22 and 24 and National Day Holiday from Oct. 1 to 7, one of the biggest travel time for the Chinese.
Korea used to attract a large number of Chinese tourists during these holidays before a diplomatic row over installment of a U.S. antimissile system in Korea.
The number of Chinese visitors to Korea has slowly recovered since the leaders of the two countries last year pledged to mend the ties of the neighboring countries.
It is Lee’s second visit to Ctrip to pitch for more Chinese visitors. Since joining hands with Ctrip three years ago, Hotel Shilla has been introducing various perks and discount options for Ctrip customers using Shilla Duty Free’s inner city and gateway stores in Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“As a leading operator running tax-free shops at three busiest air gateways in Asia including Incheon, Singapore and Hong Kong, Hotel Shilla will keep up marketing efforts in China to bolster the business,” said an official at Hotel Shilla.
By Baek Sang-kyung and Lee Ha-yeon
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