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Number of foreign tourists nose-dives in March amid coronavirus pandemic

Retail/Tourism 08:00 April 25, 2020

SEOUL, April 25 (Yonhap) -- The number of foreign arrivals in South Korea nose-dived nearly 95 percent last month due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Saturday.

According to the data by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), 83,497 foreign people visited South Korea in March, down 94.6 percent from the same period last year.

The number of Chinese visitors, in particular, tumbled 96.6 percent on-year to 16,595 last month, as the Beijing government has issued a travel alert for 15 countries including South Korea as part of COVID-19 preventive measures.

Also, 8,347 Japanese came to Korea last month, down 97.8 percent from a year ago, following the country's higher travel warning for its neighboring country.

The number of visitors from the rest of Asia and the Middle East slumped 93.7 percent on-year, with a 99.4 percent drop in the number of Taiwanese tourists and a 99.4 percent fall from Hong Kong.

The coronavirus pandemic also pushed down the number of tourists from America and Europe last month, while arrivals from the United States slid 87.5 percent from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, outbound travelers from South Korea also plunged 93.9 percent on-year to 143,366 in March, according to the KTO data.

This photo taken on April 23, 2020, shows Incheon International Airport relatively empty. (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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