Rise in Chinese visitors prompts local firms to adapt business strategies

Rise in Chinese visitors prompts local firms to adapt business strategies

A new government report shows a record number of Chinese visitors came

to Korea last year.
In response, Korean firms are adapting their business strategies to

capitalize on this surging market.
Our Sohn Jung-in reports. Korea welcomed some 11 million international

travelers last year with recent data showing visitors from China accounted

more than one-third of that tally.
According to Korea’s Ministry of Justice, the number of Chinese nationals

who visited Korea in 2013 reached a record high of three-point-nine-million.
That’s a dramatic jump of nearly 44 percent in annual visitors compared to

a year earlier.
The ministry attributed the sharp increase in part to streamlined

procedures in issuing visas, as well as visa-free entry programs for Chinese

passengers on cruise ships and airport transfers.
It’s a trend that has been gaining significant momentum over the last

decade.
Visitor numbers from China in 2004 barely scratched half-a-million, but that

figure has grown more than eight-times higher since the end of last year

and is forecast to surpass four-million by next year.
Meanwhile, the weaker yen has hurt the number of Japanese visitors to

Korea, one of the country’s main sources of tourism income.
Korea suffered more than a 22 percent decline in travelers from Japan in

2013 on-year, with that number expected to continue falling.
The changing landscape of Korea’s tourism industry is catching the eye of

local businesses here.
Restaurants in the Myeongdong Shopping District, a popular spot for

international tourists, have begun adjusting their menus to cater to more

Chinese customers.
Japanese favorites such as stews and raw beef cuisines have now been

replaced with more grilled meat dishes.
The wave of new Chinese visitors is also being attributed to the popularity

of Korean-made products.
Among the most popular items that people take back to China include

Korean cosmetics, ginseng supplements and rice cookers.
Experts say more local firms across various industries will be switching

gears to catch this rising momentum of Chinese tourist to Korea.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.

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