How tension between South Korea and China could affect tourism By Surekha Ragavan | 8th March 2017 | @surekharagavan

How tension between South Korea and China could affect tourism

IT’S been an eventful start to the week for South Korea and China with both countries at loggerheads about a controversial missile defense system in South Korea.

The U.S. military-deployed Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) is designed to protect against threats from North Korea.

The Chinese are against the deployment of the system amid fears it might be able to see deep into Chinese territory, potentially shifting the balance of power in the region.

The strain between the two nations is expected to affect tourism revenues as Chinese tourists are deterred from visiting South Korea.

A Chinese news agency reported China is ordering travel agents to halt sales of holiday packages to South Korea.

Calls from Bloomberg to China’s tourism administration for comment on the travel restrictions were not answered.

However, Bloomberg reported China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said last Friday he wasn’t aware of any measures taken by the tourism body at press time.

South Korea depends heavily on tourism revenues from China, which make up nearly 50 percent of its tourist market, according to statistics by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

Various industries take a hit

In Jeju Island, about 85 percent of foreign visitors last year were from China, accounting for 3.1 million tourists.

Jeju Special Self-Governing Province governor Won Hee-ryong told Bloomberg, “This will strike a fatal blow.”

He said bus rental companies, hotels, and travel agencies would also take a hit.


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