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Diplomatic tensions slow growth of Chinese tourists to S. Korea

Diplomatic tensions slow growth of Chinese tourists to S. Korea

By 박가영

Published : Dec. 22, 2016 - 20:38

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Diplomatic tensions have slowed the growth of Chinese tourists to South Korea, the national tourism promotion agency here said Thursday.

According to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), the number of Chinese tourists to South Korea increased 1.8 percent year-on-year in November.

The KTO explained tensions stemming from Seoul's decision in July to set up the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, much to the chagrin of Beijing, have had adverse effects on tourism.

South Korea saw a 70.2 percent annual increase of Chinese tourists in August, but the monthly figures nosedived to 22.8 percent in September and 4.7 percent in October.

China believes the THAAD will harm its strategic interests in the region, and it has restricted cultural exchanges in entertainment as well in an apparent retaliation.

South Korea, however, enjoyed substantial increases in tourists from other regions. There were 29.5 percent more Japanese tourists to South Korea in November compared to a year ago. South Korea also hosted 30.3 percent more tourists from Africa and the Middle East, and 35.3 percent more from Chinese Taipei.

The total number of foreign tourists in November amounted to

1.3 million, up 13.8 percent year-on-year. (Yonhap)