Tourists to Ja­pan to nose­dive dur­ing Chuseok

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Hyun-bin hyun­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

A drastic drop in the num­ber of trav­el­ers to Ja­pan is likely dur­ing the Chuseok hol­i­day, In­cheon In­ter­na­tional Air­port Corp. (IIAC) said Wed­nes­day, as there is no end in sight for the “Boy­cott Ja­pan” move­ment, sparked by a bi­lat­eral trade row be­tween Seoul and Tokyo.

Korea starts the four-day week­end hol­i­day to­day

Ac­cord­ing to the IIAC, a to­tal of 50,648 Kore­ans are ex­pected to fly to Ja­pan from Wed­nes­day to Sun­day, down 52.7 per­cent from 119,572 dur­ing last year’s hol­i­day.

The daily av­er­age of Korean trav­el­ers to Ja­pan also took a hit from 19,928 in 2018 to 11,294 in 2019.

“Korean trav­el­ers who were plan­ning to visit Ja­pan have changed their des­ti­na­tions to China or South­east Asian coun­tries due to the on­go­ing Boy­cott Ja­pan move­ment,” an IIAC of­fi­cial said.

Since the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment an­nounced ex­port re­stric­tions against com­pa­nies here in July, Kore­ans have re­frained from vis­it­ing the neigh­bor­ing coun­try, re­sult­ing in a 19.5 per­cent year-on-year de­cline for Au­gust — from 1.2 mil­lion to 970,000. In July, 1.12 mil­lion vis­ited Ja­pan.

Cur­rently, lo­cal air­lines op­er­ate flights to 28 Ja­panese cities and 19 of them saw drastic re­duc­tions in the num­ber of pas­sen­gers fly­ing from Korea in July and Au­gust.

The num­ber of trav­el­ers to 10 out of the 19 cities de­creased by more than 20 per­cent, and Saga Pre­fec­ture saw the steep­est fall of 55.3 per­cent.

The drop in trav­el­ers de­part­ing for Ja­pan will take a toll on the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple us­ing the air­port for the Chuseok hol­i­days.

The IIAC ex­pects 181,233 peo­ple to use the air­port daily dur­ing the given pe­riod — a de­crease of 3.1 per­cent com­pared to last year.

Sept. 15, the last day of the hol­i­day, is ex­pected to be the busiest with 202,714 peo­ple ex­pected to use the air­port.

To ease the drastic surge in pas­sen­ger traf­fic, the IIAC set the hol­i­day pe­riod as a spe­cial traf­fic con­trol pe­riod and plans to dis­patch 440 ad­di­tional per­son­nel that will help guide trav­el­ers and ease move­ment at the air­port.

The air­port will ex­tend hours at the de­par­ture lounges, and to re­duce wait­ing time, the IIAC plans to op­er­ate stor­age ser­vices for peo­ple that brought in pro­hib­ited and re­stricted bag­gage items such as flammable items, gases and pres­sur­ized con­tain­ers.

The Korea Air­port Corp. (KAC) also ini­ti­ated a spe­cial traf­fic mea­sures pe­riod and in­creased sup­port per­son­nel and fin­ished con­duct­ing in­spec­tions of key fa­cil­i­ties.

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