Dwindling numbers of Japanese visitors have hurt the local travel and retail industry, particularly Myongdong, which has been a popular destination for Japanese tourists.
The number of Japanese visitors has continued to fall as the yen’s depreciation continues, and the local travel and retail industries have been reeling as a result.
Businesses in the Myeongdong area, which has been a traditionally popular tourist hub for Japanese visitors, has been hit the hardest. Myeongdong’s hotels have seen a nearly 30 percent drop in the number of Japanese tourists in the past year.
Royal Hotel Manager Kim Dong-ju said, “Chinese tourists generally do not have a preferred destination, but Japanese visitors tend to stay near the Myeongdong area, which is close to the city center, Namsan Mountain, and Deoksugung Palace.”
Just two years ago, Japanese tourists numbered over 3.5 million yearly, but the number has begun to dwindle, and since 2013 has dropped to less than 3 million.
Those who visit say that Korea has become an expensive destination due to unfavorable exchange rates impacting the price of goods and services. One Japanese tourist said, “I wanted to buy a lot, but found that that price was rather stiff for many items. So I ended up picking up mostly cheap bargains.”
The local tourism industry faces further bleak spells this year, as the Chinese authorities have recently announced that it will restrict cheap shopping spree travel to Korea, which is expected to reduce the number of Chinese visitors as well.