South Korea to Issue E-Visas for Southeast Asian Tourists

The government of South Korea has announced that they are issue e-visas to tourists for travelling from Southeast Asia from May 2017 in a bid to increase tourism in the area which has been hampered by rising tensions between Beijing and Seoul. China has been reducing tourism to South Korea since last year following a decision on the terminal High Altitude Area Defence System. China has been reported to having banned travel agents from selling tours to South Korea.
The drop in tourism has hit South Korea hard and it is working hard to attract tourists from other countries in a bid to make up the short fall from Chinese tourist. The introduction of the e-visa is hoped to help these efforts. Of the 17 million tourists to South Korea last year over 8 million of those were from China so there is a significant shortfall to make up. It is expected that the tourism and entertainment sectors within South Korea will be particularly hard hit following the dispute between the two countries.
Efforts are underway to further increase tourism by introducing visa free travel for those in transit travelling to Jeju Island in order to encourage them to visit South Korea during their transit.
Already the government has announced loans to help beleaguered travel companies within South Korea as the government works hard to plug the gap left by the disappearance of the Chinese tourists.
It is not only South Korean tourism that is being hit by the spat with China and many areas of businesses are affected. It is thought that South Korea will move to further relax other visa categories in order to attract trade to the country in the coming months.  It is hope that the dispute between China and South Korea can be resolved so that the booming tourism industry in South Korea can be restored.

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