South Korea gears to attract tourists but MERS damaging its hopes

Published on : Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tourists wearing masks to prevent themselves from contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) arrive at the Incheon International Airport in IncheonSouth Korea is waiting to get a license for a casino resort along with China’s Marcolink Group Ltd. in Incheon. The concept of a casino resort will be submitted by the end of June. The city is third most popular and is just 27 kilometers from the capital city Seoul. The new venture will bring more tourists to the Incheon area.

 

Casio operators have already started showing interest in investing in the Jeju Island which is a popular destination for mainland Chinese holiday makers. Chinese tourists also like to be around the Incheon International Airport.  Genting Singapore Plc, Caesars Entertainment Corp and Philippines-based Bloomberry Resorts Corp are among the operators that cater to tourists in that region.

 

Even the U.S. regional tribal casino operator Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority known as Mohegan Sun, and South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corp (IIAC) have entered into an agreement to open a casino next to the airport.

 

The casino will be 18,500 Sq mt. almost (199,132 sq feet) with 250 tablets and 1500 slot machines. More foreign investors are expected to invest in South Korea about KRW1 trillion (US$891.5 million). Most casinos in South Korea are owned by foreign investors.

 

But the recent MERS outbreak in South Korea which has registered 9 deaths till this day has hit the country’s tourism hard.

 

More than 45,000 foreign visitors have already cancelled their travel plans. This is the next great blow to South Korea’s tourism after the SARS outbreak in 2003. Number of overseas tourists fell by 11 percent and fall in purchase by foreign visitors was recorded at 17 per cent.

 

Many countries have issued travel warnings on South Korea. Recently Hong Kong issued a red travel warning, which is the second highest alert. Macau has also issued a travel warning on South Korea. However mainland China which sends most tourists to South Korea has not issued any travel warning yet.

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