Thai tourists denied entry into South Korea

By Hoang Phong    November 3, 2023 | 03:00 am PT
Thai tourists denied entry into South Korea
People walk at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, March 25, 2022. Photo by Reuters
Many Thai tourists have complained they have been recently denied entry or come under scrutiny by South Korean immigration authorities despite holding valid documents.

The hashtags #BanTraveltoSouthKorea and #Koreanimmigrationoffice in the Thai language on social media X, formerly Twitter, had more than a million posts over the past weekend, prompting Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to pledge to look into the issue, Bangkok Post reported.

A search using the hashtag on X shows posts of Thai users saying they were deported after being banned from entering the country or were sent to a separate room for interrogation.

There have not yet been specific figures about the number of Thai tourists denied being entry into South Korea.

On the social media platform X, many Thai users shared their experiences of the immigration process in South Korea and some claimed they have been sent back to Thailand by South Korean immigration authorities.

They called on the Thai and South Korean governments to seriously deal with illegal migrant labor, cited as one of the main reasons for the denial of entry.

The Korea Tourism Organization said it is working towards resolving the problem of entry issues as Thai nationals opt out of traveling to Korea because of what is thought to be unnecessarily strict immigration screening, Korea Times reported.

As of September, the number of Thais visiting South Korea topped 269,347, putting it one of five largest outbound tourism markets of South Korea.

The Thai outbound market peaked in 2019 with 571,610 visitors, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.

Visa's recent survey also showed that South Korea was one of the top five favorite destinations of Thai citizens in 2023.

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