August 18, 2017 12:20
The number of Japanese tourists to Jeju Island has risen again for the first time in five years. According to the Jeju provincial government on Wednesday, 32,651 Japanese had visited Jeju until mid-August, up 6.7 percent from a year earlier.
Until 2012, about 180,000 Japanese visited the island every year, but then numbers dropped because of worsening bilateral relations, the weak yen and other factors.
By 2016 numbers were down to a paltry 47,900, and a welter of flights were stopped. Flights from Fukuoka came to a complete halt in October 2014.
The slack was taken up by hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists. But amid an unofficial boycott of Korean products and services in China, Jeju has had to refocus its marketing strategy again. So far this year Jeju has seen a whopping 600,000 Chinese tourists, but that was still down 68 percent on-year.
Instead, new regular flights have been added to the routes from Osaka and Tokyo, with 28 weekly roundtrip flights currently in operation. Eight mid-sized to large cruise ships will arrive on Jeju Island from Japan this year, and it is expected to see more of them.
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