In the midst of all the aggressive rhetoric from North Korea, the tourism industry of South Korea is trying to spread the word that visitors are welcome – and have nothing to fear.
South Korea Tourism Has Been Rising
According to media reports, South Korea’s travel industry has been booming of late. Just last week, the Korea Tourism Organization announced a new record for March when, for the first time, “inbound international tourists numbered more than a million.” That is an achievement but the figures for this month won’t be released until May and there are fears of short or long-term drops in traffic – and there is some anecdotal evidence that appears to support this worrisome trend.
Good News, Bad News
While the U.S. State Department continues its long-time travel warning for North Korea, no similar warning or even the lesser alert has been designated for South Korea. In the meantime, Seoul’s Incheon Airport has been honored with yet another best airport in Asia award, even as it saw its passenger traffic rise more than 11% last year. A representative of Incheon’s biggest carrier – Korean Air – is quoted by CNN as saying the current tension has not impacted their passenger figures – at least so far.
Who is visiting South Korea? Business and leisure travelers alike, but many of the latter are from China – reportedly about 12,000 a day via cruise ships – and as others have noted, the Chinese media are not reporting the situation in North Korea in as “dire” tones as Western reporters.