The Korea Herald


Number of Chinese travelers to S. Korea remains far below pre-pandemic levels

By Yonhap

Published : Nov. 26, 2023 - 19:56

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The Myeongdong shopping district in central Seoul on Nov. 6. (Yonhap) The Myeongdong shopping district in central Seoul on Nov. 6. (Yonhap)

The monthly average of Chinese travelers visiting South Korea remained far below pre-pandemic levels, despite China's reopening from COVID-19 restrictions and resumption of group tours, data showed Sunday.

Around 144,000 Chinese nationals visited South Korea per month on average this year, according to the data released by the Hyundai Research Institute.

The tally was about one-third of the monthly average of 416,000 recorded from 2017 to 2019, when the Chinese government had banned group tours to South Korea amid a bilateral rift over the deployment of the U.S. defense shield, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, to the country.

In 2017, China began to gradually scrap its ban, starting with some regions, but the group tours were suspended once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. They fully resumed this August.

The Hyundai Research Institute attributed the sluggish recovery in Chinese travelers to the country to the slower-than-expected rebound of Chinese consumers' economic sentiment.

The institute also said Chinese people's traveling style has changed, with preference for group tours to South Korea down and demand for travel to Japan up amid a weak yen. (Yonhap)