South Korea's state tourism agency said Wednesday it plans to launch a promotion campaign targeting visitors from Hong Kong, as part of efforts to fend off a sharp decline in Chinese tourists.
Under the slogan "Fly to Korea," the campaign will entail a massive promotion event, including discounts and gift vouchers, to attract individual travelers from Hong Kong, the Korea Tourism Organization said in a statement. The campaign will start March 20, running through the end of June.
With about a dozen airlines taking part in the promotion, visitors from Hong Kong who plan to come to Korea between May and September of this year will be given a variety of discount benefits for things that travelers need to rent or buy during a trip, such as Wi-Fi eggs and train passes, it said.
Other special treats will include some free accommodation vouchers and complimentary tour bus tickets.
The move by the state tourism agency comes amid growing concerns over a rapid fall in Chinese tourists, who accounted for about half of last year's inbound foreigners, after diplomatic relations with China frayed over Seoul's deployment of a US anti-missile system, known as THAAD.
South Korea has seen the tally on Chinese visitors drop by more than 30 percent since March 15, when travel agencies in the mainland stopped selling trips to Korea at the behest of the Beijing authorities.
In efforts to stave off the sharp drop in Chinese travelers, the local government and related industries have stepped up to secure more individual tourists from Southeast Asia and other neighboring countries.
The KTO said it plans to visit Hong Kong later this month to meet with local travel agencies and media there to host a promotion event for Jeju, the country's resort island located off the southern tip, as part of the campaign.
Some 92,000 visitors from Hong Kong came to Korea in the first two months of this year, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the KTO. (Yonhap)