Chinese New Year, which is the high season for domestic distribution and tourism industries in the first half of the year, is around the corner. But forecasts predict that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Korea will be half of last year’s.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Korea during the Chinese New Year holiday has been on the rise for the past three years. But the Chinese government’s ban on group tours to Korea has hit the tourism industry since March last year. Although the ban has been lifted in several regions including Beijing and Shandong, Chinese travel agencies are still reluctant to promote tour packages to Korea.
The distribution industry is preparing New Year’s marketing campaigns as usual, but does not seem to have high hopes. Lotte Duty Free Stores and Shinsegae Duty Free Stores are running a cashback promotion for purchases of over 100 U.S. dollars. Department stores and supermarkets, where not many group tourists visit, are focusing on marketing campaigns targeting individual tourists called “ssankeo.”
“There has been a promotion proposal by Union Pay Card. The relations between Korea and China seem to be getting better compared to last year,” said an official of a department store. “We expect the demand from Chinese tourists to rise thanks to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the Chinese New Year’s holiday.”
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