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Published on : Sunday, July 5, 2015
The government is trying to solve all stops to lure visitors back into country, by announcing plans to waive visa fees for visitors from China and Southeast Asia. A $15 tourist visa fee will be waived from July 6 through to September 30 for tour groups from China, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. South Korea’s tourism industry reels from the recent outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The country’s tourism sector has been hit hard since the outbreak of the deadly virus on May 20.
The validity of visas issued between March 1 and June 30 will be automatically extended to six months from three months. These measures are taken to boost the tourism industry, which has been affected by the Mers outbreak.
Since it first emerged MERS has claimed 33 lives in the country, making it the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia. Over 123,000 foreigners called off their trips to South Korea in the first eighteen days of June.
On top of measures to boost tourist arrivals, last week the government announced a 5 trillion won ($13 billion) stimulus package to bolster the economy. The MERS outbreak is likely to cut off 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points off economic growth as consumption slumps, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.