Tourism Slump Deals Huge Blow to Economy

  • By Ahn Joong-hyeon

    May 27, 2020 12:51

    Korea's service sector is forecast to slump to the tune of W3.3 trillion with up to 97,000 jobs wiped out as the lockdown paralyzed Korea's tourism industry (US$1=W1,233).

    A report by the National Assembly Budget Office on Tuesday said the number of tourists visiting Korea in the first quarter of this year plummeted 46.9 percent compared to a year ago to 2.04 million. In March, when the epidemic spiked, it essentially vanished, falling 94.6 percent to 83,000.

    Every percentage point decline in the number of tourists is estimated to lead to a 0.01 percentage point drop in the number of service sector workers.

    Gimpo International Airport is deserted on Monday. /Yonhap

    The best-case scenario is for the average number of tourists in the second quarter to remain flat compared to March and recover in the third quarter to 50 percent of normal times.

    Supposing it recovers completely in the fourth quarter, Korea would minimize the damage with the number of jobs in the sector dropping by 70,000.

    But if numbers fail to recover fully, as seems likely, about 97,000 jobs will be lost.

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