The danger loosing Chinese tourism business due to political problems is a nightmare for many destinations including the United States and specifically Hawaii, Japan and South Korea.
For South Korea this nightmare is now playing out.South Korean companies Friday bore the brunt of Chinese anger over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system outside Seoul, as shares tumbled after media reports of Beijing tour operators being ordered to stop selling trips to the country.
China issued travel warnings. Chinese TV urged citizens all day Friday not to shop at Korean stores, including Lotte, and to reconsider travel to South Korea.
South Korea is the world’s biggest duty free market.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was checking the media reports on a Chinese ban to sell travel programs.
“If such reports are true, it would be an unfair action … and very regrettable,” the ministry said.
An official at South Korea’s culture ministry said it heard from some Korean tour operators that they were told by Chinese peers about the sales ban.
It waits to be seen what the United Nations World Tourism Organization will respond to such unfair movements by governments to include tourism when it has nothing to do with the real issue.