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Chinese tourists to S.Korea expected to halve in 2017

The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea is expected to fall by 4 million in 2017, compared to over 8 million recorded in 2016, Yonhap News reports.

The fall in tourist numbers has been blamed on China’s economic retaliation over South Korea’s deployment of a US missile defense system, which was seen by Beijing as a threat to its national security.

The number of Chinese visitors from the March to October period fell to 2.4 million, compared to 5.9 million in the prior year period, according to the report.

However, the Chinese visitor drought is expected to alleviate somewhat, with Beijing in November authorizing the partial resumption of group tour sales to South Korea.

According to a number of travel agency executives in China, the government has allowed travel agencies in Beijing and Shandong to resume sales of group tours.

It has however, banned any travel packages involving affiliates of South Korea’s Lotte Group - which was involved with the installation of the U.S.-backed anti-missile system.

The China National Tourism Administration said it will allow the resumption of only over-the-counter sales of package tours from Beijing and Shandong to South Korea.

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