July 08, 2015 13:17
The tourism industry is showing signs of a recovery after the blow dealt by the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
Online retailer Gmarket said Tuesday the week from June 29 to July 5 saw sales of tickets to water parks and spas in Korea rise up by five times compared to the first week of June. There has also been an increase of sales in travel products and packages.
Bookings of resort accommodation went up by 277 percent from a week earlier and 95 percent from a year earlier. Guesthouses and camping sites also saw a whopping 196 percent increase in booking rate compared to a year ago, and hotels and serviced apartments increased more than 3-fold. The number of bookings for trips to Jeju, in particular, was up by 488 percent.
Online shopping site 11st witnessed 98 to 218 percent increase in sales in tickets to waterparks, spas and theme parks and accommodation bookings from June 29 to July 5.
Korea's largest travel agency Hana Tour also sold 92 percent more domestic tour packages last week than a month earlier. On-year sales were up 15 percent.
Industry insiders say the biggest factor in the recovery is the fact that the spread of MERS seems to be dying down.
Consumers who were delaying bookings for their summer holidays are now making up for lost time.
However, the number of foreign tourists to Korea, which plummeted last month, is still not going up. One travel agent said, "The number of foreign tourists to Korea will increase only when the government announces that the battle against MERS is over."
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