SEOUL, July 4 (Korea Bizwire) — Due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, the number of foreign arrivals in South Korea again nose-dived nearly 98 percent in May, reaching slightly over 30,000, official data showed Saturday.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), 30,861 foreigners visited South Korea in May, down 97.9 percent from the same month of last year.
May’s dip in foreign arrivals came after only 29,415 foreign people arrived here in April, marking a decline of 98.2 percent.
By nationality, visitors from the United States contracted 90.9 percent to 8,735 in May, while those from China shrank 99 percent to 5,124, the KTO said.
Japanese and Taiwanese visitors decreased 99.9 percent and 99.8 percent, respectively, to 413 and 189 persons, it noted, adding 24 arrived from Hong Kong, 49 from Singapore, 90 from Malaysia and 195 from Thailand.
Visitors from the Philippines and Vietnam exceeded 1,000 each, reaching 1,539 and 1,381, respectively, but the year-on-year decrease rates were both 97 percent.
“All flights between South Korea and China have been suspended except for one route by each airline. Japan has lifted its coronavirus emergency declaration but still maintains travel restrictions for South Korea,” said a KTO official, explaining one of the reasons for the continued dive in foreign arrivals.
In the first five months of this year, 2.1 million foreigners visited South Korea, marking a year-on-year plunge of 69.8 percent, the KTO said.
Under the compulsory quarantine measures, all entrants from overseas — both Koreans and foreigners — are obliged to self-isolate at their residences or government-designated facilities for 14 days.
Foreigners refusing to accept the two-week self-isolation are denied entry to the country, while rule violators are fined and deported.
Meanwhile, outbound travelers from South Korea also plunged 98.4 percent on-year to 37,801 in May, according to the KTO data.