-South Korea experiencing sharp drop in Japanese visitors.
Travel Business Review - 24 April 2013
South Korea is seeing a sharp drop in the number of Japanese visitors.
The reduction in Japanese visitors to the nation has forced tourism operators to ask the government for financial assistance. Numbers have dropped because of threats from North Korea and the ongoing political tensions between North Korea and Japan.
The Korea Association of Travel Agents (KATA), a group of 15,000 members, recently sent a letter to the government, which read, 'We are trying our best to meet the government's goal to reach the 16 million mark in foreign tourists to South Korea, but as the Japan-South Korea relationship started to deteriorate with President Lee Myung-bak's visit to Dokdo last August, we have suffered serious financial problems (with the continuous drop in Japanese tourists).'
According to KATA, the number of Japanese tourists visiting Korea between March 19 and April 15 was 88,122, a 33 percent drop from the same period last year. It is also expected that the usually large influx of tourists during the Japanese Golden Week holiday (April 27-May 6) is unlikely to happen this year.
The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry predicted in a recent survey that around 114,000 Japanese tourists would visit Korea during the holiday period, a 10.9 percent drop from the same period last year.
Rhee Byoung-chan, director of the Japan team of the Korea Tourism Organisation, said, 'The decline is greater than usual and the decline is lasting longer because we have constant tension with Japan after President's Lee's visit to Dokdo, followed by his demand for an apology from the Japanese Emperor. And there's the yen's depreciation and now the North Korean issue. It usually took about one or two months to recover from political tensions between the two countries, but it hasn't really had a chance to recover from this series of incidents.'
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