Chinese Tourism Back to Pre MERS Virus Levels
Kyung Ho Kim, Sept. 17, 2015, 10:34 a.m.
The number of Chinese people visiting South Korea is returning to levels seen before the MERS outbreak in May, data showed Thursday. About 303,000 Chinese people traveled to South Korea in the first 14 days of this month, up 4.8 percent from the same period last year, according to the data by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).
South Korea’s tourism industry has been reeling from the aftermath of the MERS outbreak, with many foreign tourists, mostly Chinese, cancelling their trips to South Korea. In June, about 609,000 Chinese people traveled to South Korea, down 29.9 percent from the same month last year.
Han Hwa-joon, head of KTO’s Shanghai office, said the recovery of Chinese visitor arrivals was “faster than expected.” “As the number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea is rapidly increasing this month, the Chinese tourist arrivals are expected to get back on track during the Chinese national holiday seasons,” Han said. Currently, there is only one MERS patient remaining in an intensive care unit in South Korea.