Some 80,000 Chinese are expected to visit Korea during China's long holidays that begin at the end of this month. China celebrates its own version of Thanksgiving for three days from Sept. 29, followed by a weeklong holiday marking the country's foundation.
Korea has become Chinese holidaymakers' favorite destination. This year will likely bring the most visitors from China so far since the two holidays come back to back.
"Over 70,000 Chinese tourists visited Korea over the two holidays last year," the Korea Tourism Organization said. "The number is estimated to increase by over 15 percent this year due to simplified visa procedures for Chinese travelers since last month and the back-to-back holidays."
Retailers here are gearing up to lure big-spending Chinese visitors, who they hope will make up for sluggish domestic consumption. Chinese tourists spend over W2 million (US$1=W1,130) on average here, three times as much as their Japanese counterparts.
Lotte Department Store will offer special discounts to Chinese customers from Sept. 28 to Oct. 7. It is preparing fliers in Chinese and interpreters will help Chinese customers. It will also offer gifts such as jewelry boxes and other traditional handicraft items with purchases above a certain amount.
Hyundai Department Store's main branch in Apgujeong, Seoul has devised a package of shopping and medical treatment in conjunction with skin and plastic clinics nearby for Chinese customers. And Shinsegae Department Store has joined hands with a top Chinese travel agency to give Chinese customers gift certificates.