Number of foreign tourists to South Korea drops

Seoul, July 21 (IANS) The number of foreign tourists visiting South Korea tumbled 41 percent in June from a year earlier following the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a tourism agency data showed on Tuesday.

The number of foreign tourists to the country shrank from 1,273,627 in June 2014 to 750,925 a year later, according to the Korea Tourism Organization. It marked the first time in 25 months that the monthly figure declined, reported Xinhua.

Chinese tourists travelling to South Korea plunged 45.1 percent in June from a year earlier, who take up almost half of the country’s total foreigner tourists.

The number of Japanese tourists dropped 41.5 percent, with those from the US and Thailand falling 16.5 percent and 43 percent respectively.

The MERS spread peaked here in June, but it showed signs of abating recently. The total MERS contagion cases were unchanged at 186 for the past 16 days, indicating the end of the MERS crisis waning.

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