The Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority said Tuesday that it issued notices of administrative actions against six guesthouses that violated the law on tourism promotion.
The IFEZ Authority and police inspected 23 guesthouses around Unseo-dong in Jung-gu, Incheon from Sept. 18 through Oct. 22, and found six to be operating illegally.
Under the enforcement decree of the Tourism Promotion Act, anyone who plans to run “city home-stay services for foreign tourists” must accommodate foreigners in the homes in which they live, with suitable facilities for them to experience Korean home culture.
Five of the inspected guesthouses, despite having registered as “city home-stay services,” did not fit the requirements.
The guesthouse owners rented out booked foreigners to stay in multiunit houses they did not live in, for up to 50,000 won ($44) per night.
Since the law allows home-stay operations in residential buildings, the owners registered for home-stay business and ran the business like any other accommodation facility.
One guesthouse owner ran his home-stay business at an unregistered site.
In order to register as a tourist accommodation business, the building must be registered as a tourist accommodation facility and meet various hygiene standards under the law on public health control.
Such “guesthouses” that do not meet legal requirements started cropping up around the airport in 2012 after the home-stay rules were introduced, according to the IFEZ Authority.
Thirty-six home-stay businesses within the island of Yeongjongdo have so far registered with the authorities.
“The idea of the city home-stay business is to have households provide accommodation and meals to foreigners using their spare rooms so the visitors can experience Korean culture,” an official at the IFEZ Authority said.
The IFEZ Authority plans to suspend their business for a month.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is conducting similar inspections nationwide.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com)