Tourism poll finds strain of pessimism

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Tourism poll finds strain of pessimism

Three in 10 Korean hotels and other tourism-related businesses expect a slump this year due to the global economic slowdown and the local currency’s ascent against the U.S. dollar, according to a poll released Sunday.

The survey of 305 hotels, tour operators and tourism-related businesses by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute was done in November.

The institute, affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the global economic crisis, a strong won and other uncertainties could reduce the number of visitors to Korea.

Still, the Korea National Tourism Organization said in January that it will work to increase the number of tourists to 12.5 million this year, an increase of 13 percent from last year, while aiming to increase tourism revenue by 11 percent to $15.6 billion.

The survey showed that 43.9 percent said the growing number of Chinese visiting Korea could generate a boom in the local tourism industry.

The tourism organization said last week that Chinese visitors will likely reach 63,000 during the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday period that runs from Saturday through Friday. That would represent a 25 percent year-on-year increase.

They are expected to spend at least 100 billion won ($91.2 million) in Korea over the seven days.

Last year, 2.84 million Chinese visited Korea, up 27.8 percent from 2011, according to the ministry. Yonhap
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