Mass Reward Tours for Chinese Sales Reps Return to Korea

  • By Lee Sung-hoon

    January 08, 2020 11:28

    A group of 5,000 reps from a Chinese health food company arrived in Korea on Tuesday for a six-day reward trip.

    They are the biggest single group of Chinese tourists to arrive here since Beijing imposed an unofficial ban on group tours to Korea in March 2017.

    The Korea Tourism Organization said Tuesday that the employees of Yi Yong Tang, based in Shenyang, are visiting Seoul and Incheon as an incentive from their employer.

    The visit is the latest in a string of such trips that are returning to Korea since the ban was partially lifted. Last month, 3,300 reps of a cosmetics company in Shanghai came here.

    The number of Chinese tourists visiting Korea peaked at 8.07 million in 2016, but declined by half to 4.17 million during the boycott in 2017. It recovered to 4.79 million in 2018 and reached 5.51 million last year.

    But this does not signal a full-fledged lifting of the ban on so-called zero-dollar package tours, where groups visit practically for free but are then herded from one shopping opportunity to another.

    With the exception of Shanghai and few other regions, most other areas still prohibit group tours to Korea. Major Chinese tourism agencies have yet to re-list package tours to Korea on their websites.

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