June 16, 2017 11:46
The historic city of Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province is slowly recovering in the wake of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake last September and a subsequent typhoon. That meant that 1 million fewer tourists than the previous year visited the city in October, which hurt the battered city's economy seriously.
By the end of the year there were still 300,000 fewer tourists per month than in previous years. But now things are looking up. The Gyeongju city government on Monday said 4.72 million tourists visited the city in the first five months this year, which was almost back to normal at 94 percent of the numbers during the same period last year.
And in April, the cherry blossom season, 2.47 million tourists came, and a healthy 1.18 million arrived in May.
If this trend continues, the city expects 10 million tourists this year, which is on a par with previous years.
The hospitality industry has also regained vitality. The big tourist hotels like the Hyundai and Hilton had reservation rates of over 90 percent on weekends or holidays.
Only schoolchildren on field trips may stay away because Gyeongju suffered a scary 622 aftershocks between September last year and last Tuesday. But most were so weak that they could hardly be felt.
But every time an aftershock is reported, schools cancel their trips. The governments of North Gyeongsang Province and Gyeongju city are now trying to persuading schools that it is safe to come back.
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