As MERS fades, leisure activities on the rebound

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As MERS fades, leisure activities on the rebound

As the spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) has retreated, people have started to once again enjoy the activities they put off during the outbreak.

E-commerce operator TMON said the sales of festival and concert tickets rose by 5 percent in July compared to May.

In June, when the outbreak was at its peak, sales declined by 50 percent.

With the approaching vacation season, sales of water park tickets and domestic travel packages soared. Compared to May, before MERS devastated the Korean economy, sales of water park tickets saw a 215 percent rise, and domestic travel packages increased 138 percent.

Due to the MERS effect, sales of gift certificates for restaurants, services like massages and personal care products such as cosmetics plummeted 74 percent in June year-on-year, while delivery products increased by 34 percent, groceries by 110 percent and household items by 82 percent during the same period.

“As the MERS effect is fading away, the sales that once nose-dived are rebounding,” said Song Cheol-wook, vice president of communications at TMON. “We will advertise cultural events and domestic travel so that we can share the boosted sales with our partners.”

The move is the latest evidence that domestic consumption is recovering.

Department stores saw positive sales growth during the recent summer sale season, according to data compiled from retailers.

According to the data, major department stores, such as Lotte, Shinsegae, Hyundai and others, saw sales growth of 1 to 3 percent compared to the same period last year.

According to officials from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of MERS patients remained flat at 186 as of Monday, and the death toll was unchanged at 36 with no additional fatalities in the past nine days.


BY KIM HYUN-MIN [kim.hyunmin@joongang.co.kr]
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