Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Yang-woo said Wednesday that the ministry is planning a special campaign to promote local tourism around the Liberation Day holiday Aug. 15, as more South Koreans boycott travel to Japan in response to Tokyo’s recent decision to impose retaliatory export restrictions.
“If we could turn the falling demand for overseas travel into domestic travel, it would greatly help stimulate regional economies and boost domestic demand,” Park said during a conference on supporting local tourism hosted by the ruling Democratic Party at the Korea Tourism Organization in Seoul.
“We will provide a wide range of information on hidden attractions and summer tour packages with different themes.”
The government will make efforts to create a favorable environment for tourism by preventing tourists from being overcharged during the holiday season and by improving safety and hygiene management, the minister said, adding that the ministry would also support various local festivals through the fall.
“I ask those in the tourism industry to do their best as well. As the number of Japanese tourists is expected to drop, we will strengthen promotions in China and ASEAN countries,” he said.
Fewer Koreans have traveled to Japan since the second week of July amid growing anti-Japan sentiment, and the number of Japanese tourists is likely to decline further due to Tokyo’s actions, according to the minister. Japan on Sunday advised its citizens to exercise caution when traveling to Korea, citing anti-Japan protests in the country.
“With the Japanese government’s decision to remove Korea from its ‘whitelist’ (of countries that benefit from simplified trade procedures), tourism exchanges between the two countries are expected to go down,” Park said.
“The government is therefore closely observing market trends, and fully preparing (to prevent losses) to the tourism industry.”
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)