Korea woos Asian visitors with visa fee waiver to counter MERS effect
Korea is waiving visa fees for visitors from China and other Southeast Asian countries following the plunge in its tourism arrivals due to MERS.
Korea is looking to revive its tourism industry by waiving visa fees for visitors from China and other Southeast Asian countries following the plunge in its tourism arrivals due to MERS.
Korea’s Ministry of Justice said the three-month validity of visas issued by Korean embassies during March 1 to June 30 will be extended to six months, and the US$15 tourist visa fee will be waived from July 6 to September 30 for certain countries.
Additionally, the Chinese visitors who already have tour group visas for Japan are eligible for 15-day visa-free stay in Korea.
The Korean government said the policy is applicable to nationals of China, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
No new confirmed cases have been reported by Korea’s Center for MERS Control, and the total number of confirmed MERS cases stood at 182 since June 30.
MERS fear has put a dampener on the traditional peak tourism months, July and August, and significant drop in visitor arrivals is anticipated. In June, the number of Chinese visitors to Jeju Island plummeted 46% compared with the same time last year. (Translation by David)