SOUTH KOREA. Chinese visitor arrivals to South Korea increased +60.9% year-on-year in April, according to the latest Korea Tourism Organization statistics. The basis for comparison is skewed however as the same month in 2017 was badly affected by the fallout from the THAAD dispute between South Korea and China.
The latest figures show the first fully like-for-like monthly comparison of Chinese arrivals since China imposed its ban on group tours to South Korea on 15 March 2017. The ban led to a -40% year-on-year fall in Chinese arrivals that month and a calamitous -66.6% decline in April 2017.
Compared to April 2016, Chinese visitor arrivals were down -46.3% in April this year. There were 366,604 visitors during the month in 2018, 227,811 in 2017, and 682,318 in 2016. The respective share of total visitors was 27.5% this year, 21.2% in 2017, and 46.4% in 2016.
The figures suggest that while Chinese travellers are returning following the tourism meltdown caused by THAAD, a full recovery has still yet to have taken place.
Japanese visitor arrivals to South Korea in April grew +29% to 213,853, a 16.1% share. A +8.1% increase has been recorded in the first four months of the year.
Visitor departures by South Korean nationals were up +11.3% to 2,230,200. For the first four months of 2018, departures are up +13.4%.