Sandwiched Between China, Japan
Korea's travel agencies think the future of
the nation's tourism industry, sandwiched between
China and Japan, is not bright.
They say Korea's tourism is behind Japan in
infrastructure and behind China in price, and
foreign visitors are not satisfied with tourism
According to the Korea Chamber of Commerce
and Industry, 307 travel agencies said Japan
was the most competitive among Asian countries
in tourism infrastructure, followed by Southeast
Asian nations, Korea and China.
In prices of tourism products, China was the
most competitive, while Korea ranked behind
Southeast Asian countries.
The agencies also said Korea's competitiveness
in tourism resources lags far behind China,
Japan and Southeast Asia, indicating they think
Korea has fallen behind other Asian nations
in all tourism areas.
Less than 10 percent of the respondents answered
that the future of Korea's tourism looks positive.
``The Japanese are the largest portion of total
inbound visitors to Korea and the number of
Chinese visitors has been growing. However,
Japanese people these days prefer China to
Korea due to the strong won. The Chinese also
choose Japan over Korea, as prices of tourism
goods for Japan are similar to those in Korea,''
an official of the Korea Association of Travel
He said that the government and travel agencies
should make efforts to deal with the situation
in which Korea is sandwiched between Japan's
quality and China's quantity and thus is excluded
from the Northeast Asian travel market.
``We need to reduce costs, for example, through
expanding tax cuts, lowering hotel rates, developing
attractions and easing regulations,'' he said.
According to the survey, 30.2 percent of the
agencies' foreign visitors said the prices
of tourism programs were reasonable but 45.1
percent said they were high. Some 57 percent
said services were okay while 29.9 percent
complaint about low quality.
Foreign visitors were most irritated by the
lack of tourist attractions (40.8 percent),
high costs (26.8 percent), poor tourism infrastructure
(16 percent) and poor lodging facilities (4.9
To boost Korea's tourism, the surveyed agencies
urged the government to develop tourist attractions,
while saying they would strengthen marketing
and present various tourism programs.