Trade body says Chinese tourists will return soon

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Trade body says Chinese tourists will return soon

The Shanghai office of the Korea International Trade Association reported that Korea needs to prepare for a rapid increase in Chinese travelers returning as the frozen relationship between the two countries has been thawing since the Moon administration took office.

Companies should focus on crafting new tour packages containing leisure programs rather than visiting tourist attractions and shopping, the report said. Also, as more Chinese tourists tend to travel independently rather than through tour packages, Korea should improve infrastructure such as transportation, accommodation, and guide services catered to these independent travelers.

“Korean companies should also perform aggressive marketing strategies and try partnering with China’s large travel agencies or online tourism sites,” Suh Wook-tae, the chief of KITA’s Shanghai office, said in the report.

While Korea was the top travel destination for Chinese tourists until 2014, it was dragged down to second place from 2015 when Thailand became the new hot spot for Chinese travelers. Last year, Korea’s popularity dropped further following the decision to deploy the U.S.-led Thaad antimissile system. Following the deployment, the Chinese government ordered local travel agencies to ban sales of tour packages to Korea from March 15.

Tensions between the two countries have been easing lately since the election of President Moon Jae-in, who has been actively communicating with his counterparts in China and the United States.

“Due to the impact of Thaad, Chinese travelers to Korea this year may be reduced from previous years but once the sour relationship between the two countries is improved, travel demand from China to Korea is likely to grow rapidly,” the report said.


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