The domestic tourism market was hit hard by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) scare in the last two months. The number of tourists to Korea reached just 750,000 in June, a 41 percent decrease from a year earlier.
In particular, the number of tourists from the Chinese-speaking region showed a sharp decrease, with tourists from China plunging by 45.1 percent to 310,000, those from Taiwan by 75.7 percent, and those from Hong Kong by 74.6 percent, according to the Korea Tourism organization.
Under such circumstances, two Chinese firms have launched a promotional campaign to encourage some 100,000 tourists to visit Korea.
The state-run English newspaper China Daily reported that Wanda Tourism, an affiliate of Chinese property conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, and online travel agency Tongcheng Network Technology have launched the campaign. The campaign was to entice the tourists to visit South Korea within 100 days, starting in mid-August this year.
The campaign is joining the efforts by the Korean government to revive the nation's tourism industry that has been hit by the outbreak of MERS since May 20, when the first case of the virus was reported in South Korea. A total of 186 people have been infected, 36 of whom have died. As of now, no additional cases of the virus victims have been reported since July 4.