August 14, 2019 11:21
Tourism from Japan has increased in recent months despite an escalating spat between the two governments that has spilled over into a boycott here.
A total of 850,453 Japanese tourists visited Korea from May to July, up 21.6 percent from the same period of last year, according to the Justice Ministry on Tuesday.
The data suggests that heightened diplomatic tensions between Seoul and Tokyo have not had an immediate impact on tourism.
In July, when the tensions started to flare up seriously, the number of Japanese tourists started sliding 2.6 percent from the previous month to 277,298, but that was still up 19.2 percent on-year. Even in the first 12 days of August numbers rose 16.1 percent on-year to 128,233. Around 80 percent of Japanese visitors are tourists, while the rest come here for business or study.
Tourism industry insiders say the diplomatic dispute has yet to have a serious impact. Cho Il-sang at Hana Tour said, "It looks like Japanese people are still not reluctant to travel to Korea, because the Korean government has not imposed economic sanctions against Japan."
Overall some 4.5 million foreigners visited Korea in the last three months, up 17.2 percent on-year. The number of Chinese visitors jumped 27.2 percent to 1.55 million. Chinese now account for 34.6 percent of total visitors, followed by Japanese with 18 percent.
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