Despite MERS Disruption, CDN Travel To Korea Holds Steady

Korean inbound tourism from Canada enjoyed a strong start and end to the year 2015, with some difficult times in the middle.

“We were having a very good year, but immediately turned to panic for the travel industry as the 1st case of MERS was reported” said Doojo Kim, Director for the Korea Tourism Organization Toronto Office. 

The 1st case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was confirmed in May, 2015 and significantly impacted the travel market in the 2nd half of the year.

“July showed a 26.2% drop year over from the Canadian market alone so we had to act fast,” said Kim. 

The KTO invested heavily in a tourism recovery plan to gain back travellers' confidence. The campaign proved effective and brought in a growth of Canadian arrivals late in the year, with 2015 ending with only a slight decrease of 0.6% from the year before for a total 145,547 Canadian visitors.

With the MERS situation resolved, arrivals to Korea are expected to climb once again. Kim is optimistic for 2016. "Last year had some unexpected news, but we really appreciate our industry partners for all their efforts in promoting Korea. They are the reason that Canadian arrivals picked up steam late in the year. In 2016, we are also pleased to announce that Korean Air and Air Canada are offering daily non-stop service from Toronto to Seoul beginning June 1st and June 17th respectively. We will continue to work closely with all the partners to develop more travel packages geared toward the Canadian market."

(will not be published)