Declining yen dents South Korea’s tourism numbers

JIJI

The number of Japanese visiting South Korea has recently fallen due to the yen’s rapid decline, increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and straining ties between Tokyo and Seoul, an industry group said Monday.

Bilateral relations have been strained since last August, when former South Korean President Lee Myung Bak visited a group of rocky islands it controls in the Sea of Japan and calls Dokdo. Japan calls them Takeshima.

The Korea Association of Travel Agents has already sought financial support from South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for measures to boost tourism.

The association said the monthly number of tourists arriving from Japan has fallen by more than 30 percent year on year since last October. In December, the number of Japanese visiting South Korea through travel agents fell 41.3 percent.

The number of Japanese using South Korea’s top 19 travel agents between March 19 and April 15 fell 33.4 percent, preliminary data shows.

An official of the association said that the tourism industry has taken a triple hit from the weak yen and recent developments on the Korean Peninsula.