South Korea has slipped to the third spot in terms of favored travel destinations for Chinese tourists during the Lunar New Year holiday, according to a report.
Fewer mainlanders visited South Korea last week compared to the Chinese New Year holiday period in 2015, people.com.cn reported, noting that several people appear to have been put off by price-gouging and sale of fake goods in that country.
Citing data from online travel service Ctrip, the paper said that more than 6 million Chinese traveled abroad during the Lunar New Year holiday.
The most favored destination was Thailand, followed by Japan.
South Korea, which was the second-most popular destination last year, fell to the third position this year, the report said.
A 25-year-old Chinese traveler identified as Qian was quoted as saying that he was charged 10,000 won (HK$63) for a small portion of laver-wrapped rice at the Dongdaemun market in Seoul.
In a Weibo post after returning from his trip, Qian complained that “the South Korean street vendor intentionally raised the price after he knew that I was from China.”
“I don’t want to go to South Korea again,” the mainlander wrote.
South Korean police said on Feb. 15 that they handled 414 cases of fake goods sales, overcharging and illegal taxi-hailing services targeting foreign travelers during the first two weeks of this month.
Last year, Chinese tourists to South Korea totaled 5.98 million, a decline of 2.3 percent over the previous year, while those to Japan hit a record high at 4.99 million.
Sale of fake and low-quality goods and rip-offs contributed to the drop in visitors to South Korea.
A businessman at Dongdaemun market was quoted as saying that dim economic prospects in South Korea have dampened spending by locals, and that some shopkeepers may be trying to offset that by overcharging foreign visitors.
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