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S. Korean retail and tourism biz get ready for return of Chinese visitors
According to Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea

South Korean retail and tourism industries that have been hit hard from soured relationship with China over Seoul’s deployment of U.S. antimissile defense system are accelerating their efforts to recover business as Beijing-Seoul relations have shown signs of thaw with the beginning of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s second term.

Korean retail and tourism sectors that rely heavily on Chinese tourists have seen their sales nosedive after Chinese government in mid-March imposed a travel ban on Chinese tour groups going to Korea as part of an economic retaliation against Seoul’s deployment of U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.

But signs of the frayed bilateral relations easing are now seen across various sectors. Korea and China agreed on renewing their $56 billion currency swap deal on Oct. 13 or three days after its expiry, and their defense ministers held their first talks in nearly two years on Oct. 24, the final day of China’s 19th National Congress.

Following the congress, a local Chinese travel agency in northern Chinese province of Hebei posted a group tour package deal to Korea on its website for the first time in nearly seven months, and China`s biggest online travel site, reportedly contacted Hotel Lotte Co., one of Korea’s leading hotel and duty-free shop operators, for designing Korea-bound tour programs.

China’s budget carrier Spring Airlines Co. said on Saturday that it plans to resume its flight service connecting Ningbo, a port city in southeastern China, and Jeju Island, Korea’s popular resort destination. Juneyao Airlines Co., China’s another low-cost carrier is also preparing to resume its flight service between Shanghai and Jeju Island.

Streets of Seoul’s popular shopping districts including Myeongdong where Chinese shoppers had disappeared following Beijing’s travel ban to Korea were once again filled with Chinese tourists over the last weekend.

Korean retailers including the country’s largest cosmetics firm Amore Pacific Group and fashion conglomerate E-Land Group are readying to launch new promotional events ahead of China’s Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza on Nov. 11. Korea’s top duty-free shop operators Lotte and Shilla are also planning various sale events targeted to Chinese shoppers.

By Lee Yu-sup, Lee Yoo-jin and Cho Jeehyun

Copyrights Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea. All Rights Reserved.

Source: Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea (Oct. 29, 2017)

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