Pension

A pension is a lodging establishment that shares rooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and kitchens, minimizing services to reduce costs, thus providing rooms at affordable prices. It primarily targets domestic family units and holds the largest market share among all types of lodging establishments for domestic travelers.
Dictionary Definition
A pension refers to a small and affordable lodging establishment in some European countries, particularly France.
Customary Definition
A pension refers to a small lodging establishment where rooms equipped with kitchens are provided to travelers in a house where the owner resides. Unlike a Bed & Breakfast in the United States, which is also a family-run lodging establishment, a pension typically offers additional services beyond breakfast.
Source: Expedia
Lobin Commentary

The term ‘pension’ is not legally defined, unlike tourist pensions or retreat pensions, and is used in the lodging market to collectively refer to lodging establishments operated in a specific manner. However, because there are no separate facility and registration standards, the facility composition and operation systems differ by country.

The name ‘pension’ is derived from the French lodging property ‘pension,’ similar to Korea’s ‘minbak,’ where spare rooms in a resident’s home are provided to travelers. It is prevalent in European countries and in regions influenced by Europe, such as Canada, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, including Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.

In the United States, Bed & Breakfast is the most similar type of lodging establishment. However, unlike a Bed & Breakfast, which only provides breakfast, a pension offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lodging fee for a pension is generally categorized as ‘full board’ and ‘half board’ based on the meals provided. Full board includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while half board excludes lunch.

In Korea, it is more common for pensions to have kitchens in the rooms, allowing guests to cook for themselves, and to provide separate barbecue areas and facilities instead of directly providing meals.

In Korea, rural minbak shares similar characteristics with pensions. In fact, many rural minbaks include ‘pension’ in their names or are classified and distributed as pensions through distribution channels. Unlike urban minbak, rural minbak has a significant share in Korea’s lodging supply, and therefore, rural minbak accounts for the largest proportion among lodging establishments that include ‘pension’ in their names or are classified and distributed as pensions through distribution channels.

Pensions primarily target domestic family demand. In this respect, they differ from guesthouses, which have a relatively high proportion of foreign demand. In fact, pensions still hold the largest market share among all types of lodging establishments for domestic travelers.

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Data Source

  • GDP: GDP, Current $US (World Bank Open Data)
  • Establishments: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Rooms: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Lodging GDP: Value Added by Industry (BEA), National Accounts (Cabinet Office), GDP of Indonesia (BPS), GDP & GNI by Sector (BOK), Economic Census (KOSIS)
  • Period: 2017-2021

※ In Korea, general & residential accommodations are included while rural & urban minbaks are excluded. Comparable countries are selected based upon availability of lodging GDP statistics for all types of accommodations.

Data Source

  • Population: Population, Total (World Bank Open Data)
  • GDP: GDP, Current $US (World Bank Open Data)
  • Rooms: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Lodging GDP: Value Added by Industry (BEA), National Accounts (Cabinet Office), GDP of Indonesia (BPS), GDP & GNI by Sector (BOK), Economic Census (KOSIS)
  • Period: 2017-2021

※ In Korea, general & residential accommodations are included while rural & urban minbaks are excluded. Comparable countries are selected based upon availability of lodging GDP statistics for all types of accommodations.

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Data Source

  • Korea: Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST)
  • USA: Census Database (STR)
  • Period: As at the end of 2021

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. Life cycle was calculated as of December 31, 2021 or actual closure date. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.

Data Source

  • Korea: Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST), Economic Census (KOSIS), Hotel Operating Statistics (KHA), DART (FSS), Trends Report (STR)
  • USA: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Census Database (STR), Trends Report (STR)
  • Period: 2005-2021

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. Visibility was calculated as the number of establishments for which revenue data is available divided by the total number of establishments. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.

Data Source

  • Guests(Korea): Domestic Traveler Survey (MCST), International Traveler Survey (MCST), Hotel Operating Statistics (KHA)
  • Rooms(Korea): Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST)
  • Guests(USA): Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Trends Report (STR)
  • Rooms(USA): Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Census Database (STR)
  • Period: 2005-2020

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.