Many Chinese tourists made the short trip
across the West Sea to Korea last week,… with the start of a major festival there.
And while these tourists have been a boon for Korean retailers,… experts say Korea
will need to do more to keep visitors coming back in the future.
Kim Min-ji reports. Upwards of 150-thousand.
That’s the number of Chinese tourists who visited Korea this month during the week-long
Spring Holiday Festival – an increase of nearly 20 percent from the year before.
It’s a time when the country’s retail industry gets a big boost. “During the week-long holiday break,… local
department stores saw their sales to Chinese visitors soar over fifty percent. So what
were the most popular items?” “I got a bag, cosmetics and local food products
like ginseng. I often use Korean products. I think Korean bags and cosmetics are high
in quality compared to the price.” Due to the popularity of Hallyu, or the Korean
Wave,… products and foods featured in local TV dramas or used by Korean celebrities have
become must-have items. “I bought some Korean cosmetics — they are
very popular in China… and all my Chinese friends like Korean beauty products. I learned
about Korean food while watching Korean dramas and wanted to try it myself. That’s why I
came here.” Korea plans to attract some eight million
Chinese tourists this year — but many say it won’t be as easy as before.
While Hallyu has played significant role,… the effects may be short-lived as China is
seeking to boost its own content business. On top of that, more and more Chinese tourists
are flocking to Japan. While Korea experienced a slight slump last
year,… visitors to Japan have been fast-growing. “The yen has lost about a third of its value.
Besides that,… Japan’s biggest advantage is the fact that it has great tourism infrastructure
in every district.” That’s in contrast to Korea,… with the majority
of Chinese tourists limiting their visits to the capital city and southernmost Island
of Jeju,… due to less promotion of other cities. “Most of Korea’s tourism industry is focused
on shopping,… but that’s not enough to bring people back. Korea also has a bad reputation
of charging Chinese tourists more for street food and cab rides.” Experts say Korea will need to focus on developing
more substantial cultural and tourist attractions,… in addition to building tourism infrastructure
around the country,… in order to give visitors a wider variety of experiences… and more
importantly… incentive to return. Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.