January 22, 2016 09:46
Chinese tourists are beginning to turn their back on Korea and heading for other nearby destinations, especially Japan, where the welcome is warmer.
Foreign tourists' complaints about hotels in Korea are rising, according to analysis by the Korea Tourism Organization, and the biggest proportion come from Chinese.
Persistent reports of price gouging by cab drivers are also working against the country. Late last year, a Chinese lawyer living in Seoul warned Chinese tourists to make sure they get receipts from taxi drivers and use prepaid transportation cards if possible.
As such reports spread, many Chinese are looking for friendlier destinations. Japan was the favorite travel destinations among some 4,300 Chinese tourists polled by Travelzoo, the largest U.S. travel information agency, last year.
Korea was not even in the Top 10 for a second year.
Last year, the number of Chinese tourists to Japan rose a whopping 90 percent to 4.65 million, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
In a 2014 survey of Chinese tourists by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, Korea ranked a mere 13th among 16 countries. And only 20.2 percent of Chinese tourists came back to Korea after their first trip, suggesting that many are attracted by popular Korean TV shows but disappointed by their trip.
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