Experiences involving transportation in South Korea
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
Do I need a special license or permit to drive my guests to and from my experience or my accommodation listing if I don’t charge them for the ride?
You don’t need a special license or permit to drive your guests as long as you are not charging them for the ride.
In order to drive guests without getting an extra license or permit, you:
- cannot charge them for the transportation you provide (either directly or by adding the cost of transportation to your Experience Fee); and
- should clearly mention in your listing description that transportation will be provided “at no charge”.
If you want to charge your guests for the ride, you need to get special licenses.
- Example: Mr. Kim takes his guests on a meditative walk through Gyoungbokgung Palace and wants to give them a free ride to/from the experience. Mr. Kim’s listing makes it clear he will pick up guests who need a ride to get to his experience at no charge to the guest. Mr. Kim does not need special licenses (aside from his regular driver’s license) to do this.
If I want to charge for the ride, do I need a special license or permit to drive guests to and from my experience or my accommodation listing?
Yes. If you wish to provide transportation to another person and charge for such transportation service, you must first obtain a “passenger transport business license” (“여객자동차운송사업면허”). This effectively means that, in order for private persons such as yourself to provide transportation and charge your guests for the ride, you should first obtain a taxi license (“개인택시운송사업면허”).
More information on the requirements to obtain a taxi license in Korea is available here.
What if I charge my guests for my experience, but: i) offer transportation without charge; ii) arrange for use of transportation at a cost; or iii) guide my guests to use transportation at their own cost?
If you charge your guests for the experience you offer, regardless of whether you charge for transportation, you may need to obtain a tourism business registration depending on your type of experience (see our information section on “Guiding Tours in South Korea” for more details).
If you need to register as a tourism business, you will have to do so at least 1 week before your experience starts. To do this, you’ll need to:
- file a registration application with your local government office. The registration application generally should include the following documentation: i) a business plan; ii) lease agreement for the applicant’s office; iii) a document stating your business assets, and documents evidencing the same;
- as of the date of application, have assets of not less than KRW 100 million, and must own, or have the right to use, an office; and
- have subscribed to an insurance guaranteeing compensation for any damages caused to Guests due to accidents caused by your tourism business, or commit a security deposit with the tourism association relevant to your contemplated tourism business, and maintain the same throughout the period of your business. The amount of the above insurance for the initial year of business is at least KRW 50 million, and thereafter determined based on the turnover amount of the business for the previous business year.
Currently, the registration application costs KRW 30,000 in processing fees.
You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with these requirements.
- Example 1: Mr. Lee wants to give his Seoul guests a ride to his experience involving a visit to Seoraksan National Park. Mr. Lee drives a van that seats 9 and will charge $200 per person for the experience, but will not charge separately for the transportation. In this case, while Mr. Lee is unlikely to be required to obtain a personal taxi license, Mr. Lee will need to register himself as a tourism business.
- Example 2: Ms. Yoo is planning to provide her experience for her guests involving a porcelain atelier in Icheon, south of Seoul. She wants to arrange for a charter bus and a licensed driver to take her guests to Icheon. She will charge $100 per person for the experience, which will include the fee for the bus ride. In this case, while Ms. Yoo does not have to obtain a personal taxi license, Ms. Yoo will need to register herself as a tourism business.
- Example 3: Mrs. Choi’s experience program, for which she charges $50 per person, involves a trip to traditional Korean hanok houses in Buk-chon. To get to Buk-chon, she shares a taxi ride with her guests. Mrs. Choi and her guests each pay for their own taxi fare, or, in the alternative, Mrs. Choi pays for the full taxi fare. In this case, even though she did not charge the guests for the taxi ride, Mrs. Choi will need to register as a tourism business, since she has charged the guests for providing the experience.
How else can I help my guests get to and from my experience or my accommodation listing?
How you handle your experience and your guest’s transportation needs is entirely up to you. You may choose to:
- give them a ride for free,
- charge them for the ride if you have a taxi license,
- ask your guests to get their own transportation to and from your experience,
- accompany your guests to and from your experience or your accommodation listing using public transportation such as a bus or train, or
- get them a taxi or other state licensed vehicle with a licensed driver. You can even pay for these licensed transportation options yourself and include the cost as part of your experience price. However, please bear in mind the tourism business registration requirement that applies for experiences that are provided at a cost.
Please also bear in mind that renting a car and using the rental car to provide transportation at a charge, or loaning a car you have rented in your name to another person at a charge, are prohibited under Korean law. It is worth noting that if a foreigner rents a car in Korea, the foreigner may request the rental car company to provide a licensed driver for the rented car.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will involve combining transportation with another activity (for example, serving or providing alcohol, food or a guided tour of the city), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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