Apr 03, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Rest of Asia, Top of the deck
Two large-scale resorts with foreigner-only casinos on Jeju island in South Korea, have told GGRAsia they face challenges in ramping up post- Covid-19 operations, due to limited opportunities to recruit new staff. At one of the resorts, a challenge was trying to tempt back workers that left during the pandemic.
Former or new staff would be welcomed, as the number of foreigners visiting the holiday island (pictured) leapt year-on-year in the period March 1 to 30, to 28,813. That compared to a very low base of 3,258 in the whole of March last year, according to Jeju Tourism Organization data.
A representative at Jeju Shinhwa World resort’s casino, said in reply to a GGRAsia enquiry, a key reason for recruitment difficulties was that young jobseekers were commonly looking for opportunities on the Korean mainland, in Greater Seoul, or even in foreign countries.
The person also mentioned the casino was interested in rehiring staff that might have left during the pandemic, but the representative acknowledged the Jeju casino industry was no longer such a high-paying sector with top benefits, relative to other occupations. Jeju Shinhwa World is run by Hong Kong-listed Shin Hwa World Ltd.
That resort’s representative added it was also hard at short notice to find fluent English speakers to assist overseas guests, and to hire mid-level managers, following a recruitment freeze during the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of wage competitiveness, the person estimated Jeju casinos would need to see a rebound of Chinese visitors to pre-pandemic level, in order to generate the kind of income necessary to boost staff pay rates.
In its annual results filed on Thursday, Shin Hwa World Ltd said that for 2022, its integrated resort business generated segment revenue of approximately HKD946.2 million (US$120.5 million), up 10.5 percent from the circa HKD856.4-million produced in the prior year.
A representative at Lotte Tour Development Co Ltd, promoter of the Jeju Dream Tower resort and its casino, told GGRAsia that since late March it had been seeking to recruit nearly 500 employees for the resort – 100 of those to be assigned to the gaming business – but also faced difficulty in hiring people.
In mid-March, Lotte Tour Development reported net casino sales at Jeju Dream Tower of nearly KRW43.68 billion (US$33.7 million) for full-year 2022. That was up 107.7 percent from the almost KRW21.03-billion recorded in 2021.
Jeju has eight foreigner-only casinos.
According to a recent report in Korean-language news outlet Jeju Daily, many Jeju casino employees either left their job or switched to other industries, during the three years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some were now reluctant to return to the Jeju casino sector, said the outlet.
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