Published on : Thursday, July 27, 2017
South Korea’s department stores are suffering from a sharp drop in Chinese tourists who are not willing to visit their neighboring country due to political tensions between Seoul and Beijing.
Hyundai Department Store said that its sales from Chinese tourists had fallen 16% in the first half compared to the same period a year ago.
A spokesman at Hyundai Department Store said, “In particular, our stores in Gangnam were badly affected by declining Chinese tourists. Our duty-free shops have also suffered.”
The Gangnam district in southern Seoul is one of the most popular destinations for foreign visitors due to its shopping opportunities, high-end restaurants as well as high-tech cosmetic surgery clinics. Shinsegae, an affiliate of South Korean retailer E-Mart, said that its department store business has remained unaffected by the drop in Chinese tourists.
The number of Chinese tourists to South Korea plunged 66.4% to 254,930 in June year-on-year, according to data from the Korea Tourism Organization. Chinese visitors accounted for one third of total foreign tourists in the January-June period.
Beijing has tightened its control on tourists for South Korea since March, as part of its revenge over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Seongju, South Korea. South Korean business interests in China have been severely impacted as well.