|Consul General to Shanghai Gu Sang-chan (sixth from right) poses with a Shanghai resident (fifth from right) who was issued the consulate’s 500,000th visa in a ceremony to mark the milestone in Shanghai on Thursday. (Yonhap News)|
The South Korean Consulate General to Shanghai issued more than 500,000 visas this year, becoming the first overseas diplomatic mission to top the number.
The figure is equivalent to the combined number of visas issued by all diplomatic and consular offices abroad in 2003.
The Consulate General to Shanghai issued 178,000 visas in 2010, 241,000 visas in 2011 and 367,000 visas in 2012. The number rose 36 percent this year from last year.
This year’s figure reflects setbacks due to North Korea’s military threat this spring and China’s tighter regulation on travel to South Korea this fall.
About 473,000 tourist visas, 95 percent of its total issuance, were issued in Shanghai this year. Others include short-term business and marriage visas.
Tourist visas were divided into group tour (52 percent) and individual tour (48 percent). Since China passed a new overseas travel law in October, group tours have tended to decline, while individual or family tours have been on the rise.
On Thursday, the Consulate General to Shanghai presented Korean Air and Asiana Airlines round-trip tickets to a 57-year-old Shanghai woman who was issued the 500,000th visa of the year and two members of her family.
By Chun Sung-woo (email@example.com)