Southeast Asians Flock to Korean Slopes

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Southeast Asians Flock to Korean Slopes

'I'd like to come back to Korean ski resorts again, as the snow quality and accommodations are quite good, but I was dismayed when I had an accident because the emergency treatment facilities were insufficient. Furthermore, there were no Chinese translators at the ski resort.'
Chen Xiouwei, 28, who came to Korea last week from Taiwan with 20 friends in order to learn skiing, is part of the growing number of tourists from Southeast Asia flocking to Korea to enjoy skiing and of course such apres ski amenities as soju and steam baths.
The number of Southeast Asian tourists as of February 9 this year soared by 30 percent over the same period last year.
The number of Southeast Asian visitors during Korea's lunar New Year's holiday jumped two and a half fold over last year.
The number of Southeast Asian tourists arriving during the ski season this year are likely to total 350,000, a 120,000 increase from last year.
As a consequence, more than 90 percent of the rooms at hotels and resorts near major ski areas have already been reserved till the end of February.
And it is not just the revenue from hotels and ski lifts that has the tourist industry doing flips but the substantial trips to the hotsprings and saunas after skiing by Southeast Asians, market sources state.
However, complaints of shortages of translators and emergency care facilities at ski resorts in Korea by some tourists is cause for concern in the tourism sector.
Kim Tae-jin : tjkim@joongang.co.kr
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