From next week on, Chinese travelers will be entitled to five-year, multiple-entry visas to South Korea thanks to a new relaxed visa policy that aims to see more Chinese tourists flocking to the land of K-pop and kimchi.
Until recently, Chinese travelers could only obtain one or three-year multiple-entry visas to South Korea. The visa length was extended in an effort to boost Chinese tourists’ enthusiasm for multiple visits to the country, online traveler operator Ctrip.com International Ltd was cited as saying in an EastDay report.
Despite Chinese tourists’ collective feeling that South Koreans “look down on them”, it hasn’t stopped them from traveling to the neighboring nation in masses to empty their pockets. South Korea became the most popular destination for Chinese tourists last year, attracting over 6.1 million travelers from the mainland who spent an average of 2,300 USD per visit. It has also taken over Hong Kong as a go-to shopping destination for Chinese tourists, many of them women who travel there to purchase cosmetics and clothing.
Still, the recent boom of Chinese travelers visiting Japan has put pressure on South Korea to stay on top. Will the new arrangement make South Korea even more alluring than Japan’s beautiful cherry blossom season and toilet seats? Time will tell.