South Korean Casinos To Benefit From Tourism Policy Changes For Chinese Visitors
- South Korea will remove the processing fees for group tours until December 2023
- The government will also add extra flights for Chinese tourists after setting up two more visa centers in China
- South Korea aims to attract two million Chinese visitors by the end of the year
South Korea is ramping up efforts to attract more customers from mainland China this year wit new changes to its tourism policy. Under its new plan, the country is looking to increase its Chinese visitor numbers by approximately 1.5 million in the second half of 2023.
Group Tour Processing Fees to be Temporarily Removed
According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea will temporarily stop collecting processing fees from tourists traveling in groups until December this year. The processing fees currently amount to KRW18,000 (around US$13.60).
The move is in response to China’s recent decision to lift restrictions related to group tours, with the Chinese government now permitting group trips by Chinese nationals to additional destinations, such as the South Korea, Australia, United States, and Japan. The decision has been welcomed by the governments of the respective countries, saying it would greatly help their economies.
Pre-pandemic, an average of 4.99 million people from mainland China came to visit South Korea each year. That figure declined significantly during the COVID-19 period and while Chinese visitors are starting to return, recovery is still slow, with South Korea recording just 540,000 Chinese tourists during the first half of 2023, Yonhap reported.
South Korea Eyes 2 Million Chinese Tourists by End of 2023
The government now aims to bring more Chinese tourists to the country for the rest of the year, with a target of around two million for the whole of 2023. That means South Korea needs to attract around 1.5 million more visitors from China by the end of the year.
With this potential increase in tourist numbers, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is also projected to rise by 0.16%, according to Yonhap.
Further efforts from the South Korean government include adding more flights for Chinese travelers, as well as launching two additional visa centers in China, which means South Korea now has a total of seven visa centers actively operating in that country.
Based on data from the Korea Casino Association, South Korea is home to 17 casinos, 16 of them catering exclusively to customers from overseas. Some of the foreigner-only gaming venues are located on Jeju Island where visa-free entry is allowed for passport holders from different countries, including mainland China. The policy applies to visitors on direct trips to the island.