April 18, 2018 09:20
For the first time in more than a year, the number of Chinese travelers visiting Korea topped the 400,000 mark in March. The Ministry of Justice said Tuesday some 427,000 Chinese visitors came to Korea last month, up 13 percent on-year and 16.5 percent from February.
This rebound comes after the diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing last year over the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here from the U.S.
When China put a ban on group tours to Korea over THAAD in March last year, the number of Chinese visitors almost halved to 378,000 that month from 614,000 the previous month.
Chinese tourists usually account for around half of all foreign visitors coming to Korea annually, and according to Hyundai Research Institute, Korea's tourism sector suffered over US$6.5 billion of damage last year due to the ban.
Seoul and Beijing agreed to normalize bilateral relations last October. A thaw in relations following the summit between the two countries' leaders in December and the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are believed to have boosted the number of Chinese visitors to Korea.
The total number of foreign visitors to the country also went up some 30 percent on-month, hitting over 1.3 million people in March.
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