The Chinese Government is to permit travel agencies in Beijing and Shandong to partly start offering group tours to South Korea. The step comes to prove that the relations between the two countries have become warmer lately, after the two nations have been known for being in conflict for years.
Tour agencies’ executives, however, explained that they had been requested not to include units of South Korea-based company Lotte Group in their travel packages.
Since March 2017, all group tours to South Korea were banned by China after the decision of the latter’s neighbouring country to install the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAADS). Now, the Chinese travel agencies’ executives and the deputy director at Korea Tourism Organization revealed that only over-the-counter package tour sales from Shandong and Beijing to South Korea are to be permitted by China National Tourism Administration. This means that chartering flights, cruise trips, as well as online package tours sales remain banned.
Ban Lift Could Be Great for South Korean Casino Industry
Lifting the ban on Chinese travel agencies and allowing them to offer group tours to South Korea could be great for the latter’s gaming market. The country has invested a lot of efforts to boost its casino industry’s development, but the latter has been actually suffering a serious blow due to the deteriorating relations with China.
The serious decline in the number of Chinese tourists to South Korea over the first nine months of the year cost the local economy the massive amount of $6.5 billion in lost revenue. The calculations were based on the average amount spent by Chinese tourists over the previous year.
The increasing tension between the two nations have put the squeeze on the gaming industry of South Korea. The fact that Beijing officials imposed a ban on mainland tourist groups to visit South Korea brought lack of certainty about the future of several casino developments on the Jeju island, known as a favourite vacation spot not only for local people, but for tourists, too.
At the time when an agreement was reached between the two companies in late October, hopes that group tours to South Korea may be given the green light in the near future emerged. Now, as soon as the Chinese Government partly lifted the ban, shares in South Korean tourism and retail companies went up.
Why is this a great thing for South Korean casino industry? As mentioned above, the local gaming market has suffered a serious blow due to the ban, so it would undoubtedly be a good thing for the nation to see Chinese tourists return. The country has been hoping that it would be found as attractive gambling destinations from many Chinese residents, who would boost the money inflow to local economy.
Previously, some local companies shared their belief that the domestic market can remain successful even without money flow from Chinese visitors. Unfortunately, the casino industry has actually suffered some difficulties once the ban was imposed. Now, things are going back on track, with Chinese players expected to soon be traveling to South Korean casinos.