SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The tourism industry continues to struggle with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The previous Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) crisis affected only inbound tourists, or foreigners travelling to South Korea. Even then, the tourism industry recovered after around three months.
This time, however, the outbreak also affects South Koreans travelling overseas, as well as domestic travels. “Many outbound travel agencies have already gone into unpaid holidays,” said the head of a local agency.
A shutdown of a single travel agency can affect numerous hotels, restaurants, tourist locations, and buses.
An orientation session held by the Seoul city government about financing held last Thursday and Friday was filled with heads of travel agencies.
The orientation was held at the request of the Seoul Tourism Association, and offered travel agencies the chance to easily apply for loans without having to go through complicated procedures.
Seoul offered 500 billion won (US$410 million) in financing. However, travel companies had to meet strict requirements to qualify for loans.
While loans under 100 million won were disbursed based on company assets, the value of the loan, and overall sales, larger loans required a more in-depth adjudication procedure.
The Seoul Tourism Association reported that only 60 percent of all applicants were able to provide proper documentation.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)