Korean Exports, Tourism Suffer from Weak Yen

A weak yen and tensions between Korea and Japan are leading to a decline in exports of consumer goods to Japan and the number of Japanese visitors to Korea.

The Korea International Trade Association on Sunday said a 26-percent rise of the Korean won against the yen in 2013 meant Korea's exports of consumer goods to Japan shrank by 13 percent last year.

The decline was particularly marked in exports of beer and kimchi, which dropped 49.9 percent and 22.1 percent.

The tourism industry has been hit as well. According to KITA, 2.75 million Japanese visited Korea last year, down 22 percent from 2012. The Korean tourism fears it will miss out on Japan's "Golden Week" from April 25 to May 6.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun on Friday cited a survey by Japan's biggest travel agent JTB and reported that the number of Japanese who travel to Korea during the Golden Week this year will drop by 23.7 percent compared to a year ago. The figure is much bigger than the projected drop in tourism to China of 11.7 percent and to Thailand of 17.1 percent.

A spokesman for Hana Tour, one of the largest travel agents in Korea, said, "Rising tensions between the two countries are making it less attractive for Japanese travelers to visit Korea."

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 07, 2014 12:42 KST