Tourism revenue in South Korea shrank near 80 percent in the second quarter against a year-ago period to a quarterly low in 17 years as air travel stayed at a standstill under virus pandemic.
According to data compiled by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and the Korea Culture & Tourism Institute on Monday, Korea’s tourism revenue totaled $1.19 billion in the April-June period, down 65.5 percent from three months ago and 78.6 percent against a year earlier. It recorded the worst since the second quarter of 2003.
With the outbreak of virus pandemic, tourism revenue in $1.58 billion January plunged to $730 million in March, $350 million in April and some-$400 million in May and June.
Foreign arrivals to Korea shriveled 97.9 percent on year to total 97,219 in the second quarter.
“There were hardly any pleasure visits during the quarter,” said an official from KTO.
China, from which the largest travelers came to Korea before the pandemic, announced a strict restriction policy in March to limit only one flight per airline a week between the two countries to reduce the coronavirus cases from outside the country. Under the rule, a single airliner can fly once a week on one route to China.
Seoul and Tokyo stopped visa waivers in tit-for-tat travel restriction in March after virus outbreak became another cause for hostility between the two neighbors.
Meanwhile, Korea’s tourism spending also retreated to $1.71 billion in the second quarter, the lowest since the second quarter of 2003, after losing 64.5 percent on quarter and 76.3 percent on year.
Korean outbound travelers sharply dropped from 2.51 million in January to 140,000 in March, 31,000 in April, 38,000 in May, and 48,000 in June.
The deficit in travel account narrowed to $510 million from $1.35 billion a quarter ago and $1.64 billion a year earlier.
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