Chinese inbound travel to South Korea fell by -72.8 percent year-on-year to 109,400 in the period 1-24 February 2020, according to the latest data provided by the Korean Ministry of Justice. In the same period in 2019, 403,000 Chinese visited the country.
The spread of COVID-19 and travel restrictions by the Chinese government were the main reasons behind the sharp decline. The spread of COVID-19 in Korea is likely to continue to depress inbound travel. Korea surpassed China in the number of new confirmed cases per day on 27 February, with 505 infections recorded.
Chinese arrivals to Korea were 2,070 on 24 February, far lower than the average daily arrival last year of between 10-15,000. The number declined to 1,824 on 25 February and 1,404 on the 26th.
A further factor set to affect travel is China’s decision on 25th February to subject all visitors from Japan and South Korea to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Unlike the strict measures implemented by China, South Korea has yet to put in place measures that might curtail inbound travel. Responding to widespread public petitions to restrict Chinese travel to Korea, the Presidential Office of Korea commented on 27th February that there was no real benefit from implementing travel restriction measures.
The Presidential Office issued a statement to say that the government was already doing all that was necessary to ensure public safety. Korean airports are screening for the virus upon arrival.
SEE ALSO : Industries in Korea are affected by Covid-19
In addition, noted the government, there are only 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Chinese in Korea and there are now many more Chinese departing than arriving.
(Source: Moodie Davitt Report)