SOUTH KOREA. Chinese visitor arrivals to South Korea rose +49% year-on-year in June to 379,891, continuing the sharp bounce back from the 2017 THAAD crisis, according to Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

While still a long way off the pre-THAAD June 2016 record of 758,534, the results continue an encouraging pattern expressed in a +60.9% increase in April and a +46.1% rise in May. Chinese tourism slumped drastically after the 17 March, 2017 crackdown on group tours to South Korea.

For the first six months of the year Chinese arrivals fell by -3.7% to 2,170,598. That compares with 3,816,756 in the normalised comparison year of 2016.

Encouragingly, Japanese arrivals rose +18% in the first half to 1,306,176. They surged +40.2% in June to 235,293 after a +42.6% rise in May and a +29.0% uplift in April.

The Korean outbound business remained vibrant in June, with a +10.8% rise to 2,323,986. For the first six months Korean departures increased by +13.4% to 14,316,105.

Chinese tourism for the first half (above) was down marginally on a troubled 2017 but as the June table below shows, the recovery is now in full flow. Japanese visitor arrivals meanwhile continue to surge. [Tables: Korea Tourism Organization]