South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday that China's National Tourism Administration declared on Tuesday the partial lifting of its ban on group tours to South Korea, citing unnamed sources, as Seoul and Beijing move to repair bilateral relations badly frayed by the deployment of the US missile defense system in South Korea.
The report claimed that China decided to allow offline travel agencies in Beijing and East China's Shandong Province to sell package tours to South Korea, industry sources said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a daily press conference on Tuesday that he was not aware of the situation.
Customer service employees at the China International Travel Service Co (CITS) and China Youth Travel Service told the Global Times on Tuesday that no such group tour services are available to South Korea.
No group travel packages to South Korea are found on major online Chinese travel platforms, including Ctrip, qunar.com and lvmama.com as of press time.
A Beijing-based travel agency on the Alibaba Group's travel platform fliggy.com claimed to provide group tour service from Tianjin to Seoul, the soonest on December 6.
An employee at the agency told the Global Times that "Group tours to South Korea have not been completely opened, so we don't offer group travel visa services. The 'group travel package' they provide relies on individual visa applications."
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