Asia Minute: Chinese Travel Patterns Hit North and South Korea

Nov 27, 2017

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The state of Hawai‘i is heading for another record year for tourism. The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism expects visitor arrivals to top last year’s figure of 8.9 million—with further growth next year. But it’s been a different story for tourism this year in Korea, both South and North. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

This may not be a surprise: tourism to North Korea is in decline.

If you’re a U.S. citizen, it’s not even an option. The State Department ended legal travel this summer following the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was jailed in North Korea on charges of stealing a political poster.

Most visitors to North Korea go through China, and that has become more complicated.

And it’s not only economic sanctions.

On Friday, Chinese officials announced the main bridge between a Chinese city and North Korea will be “closed for repairs” for an unspecified period.

The Chinese also play the biggest role in tourism to South Korea.

And a decline in Chinese visitors over the past year was the main reason South Korea’s capital city dropped six spaces on the list of Top 100 City Destinations put together by global research firm Euromonitor International.

Seoul now comes in at number 16.

Six of the top ten cities on Euromonitor’s list are in Asia, and that’s largely because of the volume of Chinese visitors.

Kuala Lumpur, Shenzhen, Macau, Singapore and Bangkok all make the list.

And for the ninth year in a row, the most visited city in the world is Hong Kong—due to the number of tourists coming from mainland China.