South Korea wants tourists to come back


South Korea announced Monday (4 September) it’ll waive visa fees and move to add more direct flights from China to entice more Chinese tourists.

Tourism from China is a major source of income for South Korea. But in 2017, China banned tour groups from visiting South Korea in response to Seoul’s deployment of a US-made missile defence system.

And the ban’s impact was real. Within a year:

  • 👪 The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea halved from eight to four million, and
  • 📉 Seoul’s total tourism earnings fell from $17.1B to $13.3B.

But last month, China lifted the ban after six years. Now, South Korea is doing all it can to welcome those tourists back.

Intrigue’s take: South Korea was long spooked at the prospect of falling into the ‘middle income trap’ (where growth stagnates at a certain level).

It cruised into high-income status in 2017, but has remained focused on diversifying its economy to boost resilience. Tourism is a key part of that equation, but waiving visa fees might not be enough.

Also worth noting:

  • Pre-COVID, Chinese tourists spent a combined $255B abroad each year, with group tours accounting for roughly 60% of that spend.
  • Beijing also lifted its ban on group travel to countries like the US, UK, Australia and Germany last month. China lifted the ban on Russia back in January. Canada remains banned.
Latest Author Articles
Mohammed Deif: dead or alive?

You might’ve noticed an Israeli Defence Force (IDF) tweet on Saturday regarding an airstrike on a “compound” in southern Gaza, where it said “two senior Hamas terrorists and additional terrorists hid among civilians”.

16 July, 2024
Japan and the Philippines sign historic defence deal in response to China

While many of us perhaps kicked off our week with a nice little trip down to Home Depot or a surprisingly productive sync with Barry from sales, ministers from Japan and the Philippines used their Monday to sign a major defence treaty in Manila’s Malacañan Palace: it’s called a ‘Reciprocal Access Agreement’.

9 July, 2024
Strong French voter turnout with Le Pen’s party in the lead

Last month, we wrote that French President Emmanuel Macron was taking a gamble after the European Parliament elections by calling a snap election at home. Well, the results are in and they don’t look good for his party.

1 July, 2024
Low turnout expected for Iran’s snap election

Iranians will ✌️vote✌️ for their next president this Friday, after their last president died in a helicopter crash in the country’s mountainous north-west last month.

25 June, 2024