The number of Japanese visitors to Korea has dwindled amid worsening ties between the two countries, dealing a blow to the tourism industry here.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization, the number of Japanese visitors to Korea from January through September fell 26 percent compared to the same period of 2012 to 2.06 million.
The number of Japanese visitors to Korea has been dropping for 13 months in a row.
Korean Air has posted three straight quarters of operating losses until the second quarter of this year. Although it managed to achieve a W160.1 billion (US$1=W1,061) operating profit in the third quarter, the figure was 43 percent lower than in the same period of 2012.
The main reason was a drop in the number of passengers aboard the lucrative routes to Japan.
Duty Free Shops are also feeling the impact. According to Lotte Duty Free Shop, revenues generated by Japanese customers until the third quarter of this year fell 30 percent on-year.
In contrast, Korean visitors to Japan have increased for 19 consecutive months.
The Hyundai Research Institute said the amount of money spent in Korea by Japanese visitors in the first eight months of this year fell by US$700 million on-year, while the amount of cash Koreans spent in Japan over the same period rose by $500 million leading to a travel account deficit of $1.2 billion.