South Korea takes action as Chinese tourists forced to buy overpriced items

By Hoang Vu   March 20, 2024 | 03:16 pm PT
South Korea takes action as Chinese tourists forced to buy overpriced items
Chinese tourists shop at a Lotte duty-free shop in central Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 2, 2016. Photo by Reuters
South Korean authorities pledged to crack down on cheap tour packages that press Chinese tourists to purchase overpriced products.

The move came as South Korea seeks to lure visitors from China, who take the largest portion of incoming tourists, The Korea Times reported.

In recent years, many Chinese tourists have been lured to buy extremely low tour packages, but they have been always pressed by their tour guides to buy overpriced products such as cosmetics, nutritional supplements and duty-free items, The Korea Herald reported.

Among around 3,100 Seoul tourism packages sold on four major online platforms in China, 85 were suspected of promoting cheap tour packages aimed at Chinese tourists, according to The Korea Times.

In order to tackle this issue, South Korean authorities said they are implementing strict preemptive measures and responses against various unfair practices, including cheap tour packages.

The Seoul government requested cooperation from related agencies in preventing travel firms from prompting such tours.

In addition, South Korea will also crack down on unqualified tour guides at popular foreign tourist destinations, including Myeongdong and Yeouido.

Before the pandemic, China was the largest source of tourists to South Korea, with 6 million arrivals in 2019.

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