South Korea’s tourism revenue shrinks by 80% in Q2

 Monday, September 7, 2020 

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The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and the Korea Culture & Tourism Institute recently compiled a data that that states that Korea’s tourism revenue totalled $1.19 billion in the April-June period, down 65.5% from three months ago and 78.6% as compared to last year. It has been reported that the country recorded the worst tourism revenue since the second quarter of 2003 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


In South Korea, tourism revenue shrank nearly 80% in the second quarter against the same period an year-ago to a quarterly low in 17 years as air travel stayed at a standstill under virus pandemic. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, tourism revenue in $1.58 billion January plunged to $730 million in March, $350 million in April and some-$400 million in May and June. Foreign arrivals to Korea also shrank 97.9% on year to total 97,219 in the second quarter.




The largest travelers came to Korea from China before the pandemic. However, in light of the outbreak, the country announced a strict restriction policy in March to limit only one flight per airline a week between the two countries to reduce the coronavirus cases from outside the country. Under the rule, a single airliner can fly once a week on one route to China. Seoul and Tokyo stopped visa waivers in tit-for-tat travel restriction in March after virus outbreak became another cause for hostility between the two neighbours.




Meanwhile, Korea’s tourism spending also retreated to $1.71 billion in the second quarter, the lowest since the second quarter of 2003, after losing 64.5% on quarter and 76.3% on year. Korean outbound travelers sharply dropped from 2.51 million in January to 140,000 in March, 31,000 in April, 38,000 in May, and 48,000 in June. The deficit in travel account narrowed to $510 million from $1.35 billion a quarter ago and $1.64 billion a year earlier.

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