October 27, 2017 10:45
Some Chinese travel agencies have started selling cheap package tours to Korea again.
The Chinese government in March imposed an unofficial boycott on Korean goods and services, including so-called "zero-dollar" tours that were a significant cash cow for low-end tourist businesses here.
Their resumption offers hope that the matter can be resolved as the two countries work towards easing tensions sparked by the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. in southwestern Korea.
But big travel agencies in Beijing and Shanghai still offer no package tours to Korea.
According to industry watchers, one travel agency in an eastern coastal city in China began selling group tour packages to Korea on Tuesday. They are ferry rather than plane trips and cost between 1,480 to 2,480 yuan (W250,000 to W420,000) per person (US$1=W1,127).
The agency is selling the package tour on its website, but it is difficult to search for the agency on the web, so they only appeal to customers in the know.
One industry source said, "We have been seeing some travel agencies in small towns starting to resume tour packages to Korea in July, but there are no signs that the big agencies are changing, so we can't jump to conclusions yet and the Chinese government may well slam on the brakes again."
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