Growing trade feud between Japan and the Republic of Korea is redrawing the map of Asian tourism, with the RoK and Chinese travelers avoiding previously popular destinations like Japan and Hong Kong for Southeast Asia.
|At Golden Gate bridge, Da Nang|
According to the Japan’s Nikkei Asia Review, in the first half of this year, the number of RoK tourist arrivals in Southeast Asian nations rose nearly 20 percent annually.
The article said Vietnam and the Philippines have both enjoyed double-digit growth in travelers from the RoK. About 150,000 Koreans live in Vietnam, which is home to two Samsung Electronics plants. Samsung products account for roughly a quarter of Vietnamese exports.
The RoK government plans to open a consulate in the central city of Da Nang later this year to serve tourists there.
A survey by the e-commerce company Wemakeprice showed that Da Nang remains the most popular among RoK tourists during Chuseok (Mid-Autumn) holiday, followed by Bangkok and Guam. Japanese destinations like Tokyo and Okinawa have slipped in the rankings.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has begun offering up to 30 percent off for East Asian tourists at key shopping malls and duty-free stores. The discount runs to the end of October.
Taiwanese authorities expect 400,000 fewer Chinese tourists in latter half this year, causing an economic loss of around 630 million USD.
The RoK is responsible for about 5 percent of visitors to ASEAN member states, according to the bloc's statistics. This puts the country in third place among non-ASEAN sources, behind China and the European Union.
Meanwhile, the UN World Tourism Organisation said China spent 277 billion USD on international tourism in 2018 to top the global rankings. The RoK was Asia's next biggest spender at 32 billion USD, coming in ninth overall. Nikkei Asia Review/VNA
The number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam in the year to August fell 0.9% year-on-year, provoking concern among local tourism management agencies, as they had expected the number of tourists from this source market to grow by 5%.
Cu Lao Cham Island in the central city of Quang Nam has become overcrowded with tourists, further threatening its natural resources.