Japan Benefits From MERS Outbreak in South Korea

Patient Zero is believed to be a businessman who travelled to the Middle East.

The outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome deepened the wounds of the Korean tourism industry, which is already losing to Japan as the neighboring island country is benefitting from the weak yen.

Some 1.5 million Chinese tourists are reportedly cancelling their trips to Korea between June and August and instead opting to visit Japan due to fears of MERS. This is expected to widen the gap in the number of foreign visitors between Korea and Japan to more than 3 million this year.

Industry insiders say that the government should do its utmost to get the outbreak under complete control as soon as possible and draw Chinese tourists back for the Chinese National Day holidays in October.

According to the Korea National Tourism Organization, some 5.92 million tourists visited Korea during the first five months of this year, 1.62 million fewer than Japan. The gap has been increasing since November last year when Japan overtook Korea for the first time in seven years.

  • Frau Katze

    On the bright side, it might help China-Japan relations. (Likely not, the ChiComs do what they want. )

    • They’ll be back.

    • I don’t think so. Asians tend to hate one another (Chinese thinking that they are better than Koreans, for example) but that never stops one from taking one’s money.

      South Korea is a marvellous place to visit. It’s a shame that doing business in the Middle East is the reason why the tourism industry is taking a nose-dive. It’s just not worth it.

      But Japan is also an awesome place to visit.

  • HJM

    Highly unlikely for a visitor to catch MERS, however, even I, when planning to visit Korea switched to Japan at the last moment. Sorry Korea, hope to come soon, however.

    • It’s worth it. Go. South Korea is more tourist friendly than even Japan.

      Japan is still worthwhile, however.

  • simus1

    Pity the Chinese aren’t just as concerned about their own farming methods which are the most common source of the mutated flu viri which constantly plague all people and animals around the world.