Chinese aren’t spending here on tourism, cosmetics

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Chinese aren’t spending here on tourism, cosmetics

Korea’s cosmetics and tourism industries have yet to benefit much from China’s lifting of a ban on group tours to Seoul despite a recent gain in the number of Chinese visitors, sources said Friday.

In March last year, China took a set of retaliatory measures against Seoul, including a ban on group tours, following the installation of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in North Gyeongsang.

In November, Seoul and Beijing agreed to put their bilateral ties back on track by lifting the ban and other sanctions, setting aside their bitter row over the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) battery.

According to the sources, the number of foreign tourists to Korea came to 1.33 million in April, up nearly 24 percent from the same month a year earlier.

In particular, the number of Chinese tourists spiked about 79 percent on-year to 283,533, thanks to the lifting of the group tour ban.

The sharp increase in the number of Chinese tourists to Korea helped domestic sales of cosmetics bounce back modestly from the previous slump.

LG Household & Health Care, which was not affected much by the Thaad row, said its cosmetics sales climbed 12.1 percent on-year to 907.7 billion won ($841 million) in the first quarter of this year.

Of the total, 338.3 billion won worth of cosmetics products were sold at duty-free shops.

A company official said sales of cosmetics are showing signs of recovery on the back of increased foreign tourists, but it is progressing at a moderate pace.

An official from industry leader Amorepacific chimed in.

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