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PyeongChang Winter Olympics hoped to revitalize tourism boom in S. Korea

2017/10/06 09:29

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics slated for February next year is anticipated to revitalize tourism in South Korea which was recently struck by a falling number of Chinese visitors, industry watchers said Friday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, next year's Winter Olympics to be hosted in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, is expected to generate production inducement effect of 668.4 billion won (US$582.9 million) with an employment of 9,000, lending support to various sectors in the tourism industry.

The organizing committee of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics expects some 83,000 foreign tourists to visit South Korea to enjoy the games. The number of athletes, reporters and other Olympics officials are also estimated at 75,000, it added.

Industry watchers added the Winter Olympics is also anticipated to revitalize the South Korean tourism industry from the doldrums amid the falling number of Chinese visitors amid a diplomatic row.

Since earlier this year, the Chinese government has banned its tour agencies from selling package tours bound to South Korea, expressing opposition against Seoul's decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country.

Of the 17.2 million foreign tourists who visited South Korea last year, Chinese accounted for 8.06 million, or 46.8 percent.

The number of Chinese visitors over the January-August period this year, however, came to only 2.87 million.

Other experts, however, said the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will only have a short-term effect on the local tourism industry unless Beijing fully lifts its economic retaliation against Seoul, and that South Korea should seek to diversify its portfolio in line with next year's event.

While the local tourism industry has been relying heavily on visitors from Asian countries, experts said the event will help in South Korea to host more tourists from other regions as well.

This photo, taken on Sept. 29, 2017, shows PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, the stage for the upcoming opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul. This photo, taken on Sept. 29, 2017, shows PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, the stage for the upcoming opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul.

colin@yna.co.kr

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