Trip.com working on a business agreement with the Korea Tourism Organization

 Monday, March 22, 2021 

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China’s largest travel agency, Trip.com, is working on a business agreement with the Korea Tourism Organization for providing a much-needed boost to South Korea’s struggling tourism sector once the COVID-19 pandemic starts easing and getting better.


The signing of the agreement is expected to correspond with an upcoming visit to Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which is currently planned for late 1H21 or early 2H. The goal is to prop up a Korea-China tourism exchange.


China has been the largest tourism source market for South Korea for long but is yet to recover from the fallout of the THAAD missile crisis of 2017, which made China issue an official tourism boycott to South Korea, including a ban on all tour groups. It brought in a 50% decline in Chinese visitation, from 8.1 million in 2016 to 4.2 million in 2017, going up only to 6 million by 2019.


Korea’s 16 foreigner-only casino operators, who depend majorly on international visitation, witnessed significant loss. Hence, any deal with Trip.com would come as a timely improvement given the happenings of the past year.


A Trip.com representative said, “We are preparing various plans with various possibilities regarding Korea-China tourism exchange. As one of them, we are also discussing agreements with the Tourism Organization, but nothing has actually been promoted.”

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