China has banned group tours to South Korea in a move expected to deal a heavy blow to Seoul’s tourist industry.
Purchases of airline tickets and hotel accommodations have also been suspended, Yonhap news agency reports, citing the China National Travel Administration.
About 60 percent of tourists from mainland China visit South Korea on their own while the remaining 40 percent are group tours that book through travel agencies.
The ban could translate to a drop of 60-70 percent in tourist numbers from mainland China.
The travel industry of Jeju Island is expected to be the hardest hit.
The move by the Chinese authorities is the latest in a series of retaliations against the planned deployment of a high-tech US anti-missile defense system in Seoul, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
China has slammed Seoul for deciding to install THAAD on its own soil, claiming it will undermine regional security in East Asia. The system is capable of monitoring Beijing’s military developments.
Meanwhile, many mainland retailers have announced that they are ceasing cooperation with South Korean retail giant Lotte in China, Headline Daily reports.
Lotte has been under fire since it handed over a plot to the government to be used as the site for the THAAD deployment.
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