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Boosting domestic travel can offset falling inbound Chinese tourists

Boosting domestic travel can offset falling inbound Chinese tourists

Posted March. 29, 2017 07:12,   

Updated March. 29, 2017 07:23


As domestic demand is shrinking with the THAAD deployment leading to a drastic decline in the number of Chinese tourists into Korea, one of the ways that is gaining momentum to tackle the crisis is to vitalize domestic travel. In other words, Koreans can increase domestic travel to fill the China vacuum.

According to Bank of Korea Jeju headquarters and the tourism sector on Tuesday, the daily average number of tourists coming to Jeju in March was 3,671 as of Sunday, down 52 percent from the same period of last year when there were an average 7,645 inbound visitors. By contrast, Korean tourists increased by 10.6 percent year-on-year.

Analysts say that to overcome the vulnerable structure of the over-dependence on Chinese, diversification of markets is necessary and the over-dependence on Korean Wave and shopping should be improved. The problem is that it takes too much time.

A short-term alternative therefore can be to vitalize domestic travel. According to the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade and the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, if Koreans travel domestically for just one more day a year, its domestic demand boosting effects will reach 4 trillion won (3.6 billion dollars) at maximum. This will considerably offset the tourism loss stemming from a drastic decline in Chinese tourists that is estimated at 5.5 trillion won (4.9 billion dollars).

"Vitalizing domestic travel is an urgent task to boost domestic demand and to improve quality of life of Korean people," said Professor Lee Hoon of tourism at Hanyang University. "We need an extraordinary strategy to spur domestic travel that has stuck at an annual 1 percent level for the last three years."

Ga-In son gain@donga.com · Jae-Young Kim redfoot@donga.com