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S. Korean retailers wooing Chinese tourists during Lunar New Year holiday

2017/01/16 11:46

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's retailers are trying to attract more Chinese tourists during the upcoming Lunar New Year's holiday later this month with the focus on private tourists rather than those in groups, industry sources said Monday.

About 140,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit South Korea during the biggest Chinese holiday season this year, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, an official with the Korea Tourism Organization said.

The Chinese government recently failed to approve the request by South Korean and Chinese airliners to fly charter flights to bring Chinese tourists to South Korea during the holiday apparently to stem the rise in the number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea on cheap tour packages.

Affected by the Beijing government's policy to reduce low-quality tour packages to South Korea, the ratio of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea on low-cost tour package programs is less than 35 percent of the total visitors to South Korea, according to KTO statistics.

Lotte Department Store said it has introduced an immediate tax refund system for foreign tourists while providing a tour program for foreigners that includes rides in a rickshaw while wearing the traditional Korean costume hanbok.

A 10,000 won (US$8.40) traffic card will be provided to any foreign tourist who carries a Lotte Department Store brochure from any outlet in Incheon International Airport, a Lotte official said.

Lotte has also invited several power bloggers from China to introduce the South Korean tour industry.

Shinsegae Department Store said it will provide a 25,000 won voucher to any foreigner who purchases at least 500,000 won in goods with a Union Pay card. Foreign tourists can visit a one-stop service center for foreigners at the fourth floor of the store's headquarters in Myeongdong, downtown Seoul, for interpretation, tax refund and express mail abroad.

Shinsegae Duty Free said it will provide foreign tourists who buy any product worth more than $1 with a ticket for free entrance to N Seoul Tower and Gyeongbok Palace.

A 60,000 won prepaid card will be available to any foreigner who purchases $1,500 worth of goods at Shinsegae DF, and those who buy over $500 worth of goods will be provided with a 20,000 won prepaid card, a Shinsegae DF official said.

Shilla IPark Duty Free said it will hold a lottery every day during the Lunar New Year holiday to provide 880,000 won prepaid cards to eight lottery winners.

Other gifts include two free meal tickets to a Chinese restaurant and one ticket for free admission to a spa.

hdh@yna.co.kr

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