Korean tourism set to recover from MERS by August
Korea expects the tourist industry to return to normal by August, after ending new cases of MERS, the South Korean Embassy to China said.
South Korea expects the tourist industry to return to normal by August, after ending new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the South Korean Embassy to China said on Friday.
The total cases of the MERS virus in South Korea has remained at 186 since July 5, with only 16 people still in treatment.
If there are no new cases reported within 28 days, the South Korean government is expected to declare an end to the spread of MERS on August 2, according to Lee Yun-dong, head of Korea Food and Drug Administration to China.
Park Chung-ha, head of the Korea National Tourism Organization in Beijing, told a news conference Friday that the national tourism industry would see a modest recovery by next month since the signs of MERS have abated and a growing number of groups plan to visit South Korea.
To further boost popular communication between South Korea and China, Seoul declared visa exemptions for Chinese who already hold Japanese group tour visas.
The Korean Embassy said this shift is a permanent one.
Other measures introduced to aid Chinese tourists include free visa applications for groups visiting from July 6 to September 30.
In June, Chinese visitors to South Korea decreased 54.3 percent year-on-year to 7,700.
In order to attract visitors, the embassy said that hotels, shopping mall and duty-free stores are going to offer -discounts to customers in August.
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