SEOUL, Korea – Three out of 10 South Korean hotels and other tourism-related businesses said they could face a slump this year due to the global economic slowdown and the local currency’s ascent against the U.S. dollar, a poll showed Sunday.
The survey of 305 hotels, tour operators and tourism-related businesses by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute in November found that 30.2 percent of the respondents said the tourism industry could suffer a slump.
The institute, affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the global economic crisis, a strong won and uncertain economic situations could cut the number of foreigners visiting South Korea.
Still, the Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO) said in January that it will seek to increase the number of the country’s inbound tourists to 12.5 million this year, up 13 percent from the previous year, while aiming to increase its tourism revenue by 11 percent to US$15.6 billion.
The survey showed that 43.9 percent said growing number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea could generate a boom in the local tourism industry.
The KNTO said last week that Chinese visitors to South Korea will likely reach 63,000 during the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday period that runs from Feb. 9 to 15, up 25 percent from a year earlier.
They are expected to spend at least 100 billion won (US$92 million) in South Korea over the seven days.
Last year, 2.84 million Chinese visited South Korea, up 27.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the ministry.