Beijing Film Festival bans Korean movies, tourism between two countries shrinking

One of China’s biggest film festivals has
reportedly dropped Korean films from its lineup — likely more of what appears to be retaliation
by China for South Korea’s deployment of an American missile defense system. And as our Kim Jung-soo explains, duty-free
shops and hotels are also feeling the effects of Beijing’s ban on group travel packages
to Korea. The Beijing International Film Festival announced
last week that it will screen more than 500 movies this year, but according to industry
insiders, it’s dropped Korean movies from the line-up. The festival runs from April 16 to 23rd…
and is is supported and sponsored by the Municipality of Beijing. But anti-Korean sentiment in China’s film
industry goes beyond the festivals: it turns out that not a single Korean movie
was screened in Chinese theatres last year. Until 2015, the world’s second-largest film
market had regularly put on 3 or 4 Korean movies despite its stringent screen quotas. Also, in recent years, Chinese travelers have
been flocking to Korea, especially Seoul and Jeju-do Island — that is until Beijing started
retailiating against South Korea for deploying the THAAD anti-missile system, something the
Chinese authorities deny they’re doing. Back here in Korea, however,… the number
of Chinese tourists visiting duty-free shops has dropped by half since Beijing instiuted
a ban on group tour packages in the middle of the month. The number of Korean travelers booking trips
to China also appears to have fallen…. BY HALF. Korea’s Lotte Duty Free has seen sales to
Chinese customers drop by 40 percent on-year from March 20th to the 26th. And local travel agency Hana Tour says the
number of South Korean travelers booking trips to China for April has tumbled by 50 percent
compared to last year. Korea’s culture ministry – which has been
monitoring the situation – believes that the effects of the travel ban will continue at
least through May. “In 2016, over 8 million chinese tourists
visited Korea out of a combined 17 million. Thats about 46 percent. We believe chinese tourists will decrease
by nearly half beginning April and, starting from that month, we will offer low-interest
loans of up to 50 billion won, or roughly 45 million dollars to select companies in
the tourism industry.” The ministry also says it will use this difficult
situation as an opportunity to diagnose its tourism infrastructure… and expand travel
routes to other countries, especially in Southeast Asia. Kim Jung-soo, Arirang News.

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