October 13, 2016 13:06
The tourism industry in the historic city of Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province has taken a knock after the earthquake last month compounded by damage from typhoon Chaba.
Only about 570,000 tourists visited Gyeongju in September, down almost half from a year earlier, according to the city government.
Most schools elsewhere in Korea have canceled scheduled trips to the area involving some 45,000 children. The estimated loss from these cancellations alone amounts to W3.5 billion (US$1=W1,124).
Few tour buses are seen in the Bomun Tourist Complex, where hotels and condos are concentrated. Tourists have canceled reservations at 16 hotels and other accommodation in the city since Sept. 12, when the magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit the area.
The damage to the city's tourism industry is estimated at W20 billion, half of which was incurred from restaurant businesses.
Sales of some 4,300 restaurants have dropped 40 percent since the earthquake, with losses amounting to about W10.7 billion, according to the city's restaurant association.
The provincial and municipal governments will implement a special marketing strategy to bring tourists back.
"Inspections of hotels and sport facilities in Gyeongju by the Ministry of Public Safety and Security found no safety problems," a provincial government official said. "We'll work hard to revitalize the world-famous historic city."
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