Americans heading to South Korea are ‘taking a hit’ due to Trump threats

The United States may be skipping this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, but Americans are still coming to Seoul, at least to stay in a hotel.

Thirty-eight American hotels are offering discount rates to cash-strapped U.S. tourists this year, according to a survey by travel- and hotel-booking site Voyageist.

“Comparing the number of foreigners who are staying in Seoul and vice versa, we realize that the U.S. market is taking a hit,” the company’s research and industry manager, Hanna Clas, told The Korea Times.

The paper ran a feature in its December 3 edition featuring U.S. travelers returning to South Korea after they were worried about U.S. President Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again threats of military action against the country. (The threat has been noticeably absent since the U.S. agreed to an inter-Korean peace declaration earlier this year.)

Clas said she hoped to see many more Americans flooding into Seoul in the coming months. “I am hoping we can really kick start the market and see a lot more arrivals from the United States,” she said.

Many Americans who went last year stayed at local hotels, but Clas said most of the hotels in Seoul this year were not owned by local Korean conglomerates, which provide the bulk of the city’s tourism and hospitality.

“We found out, thanks to research, that not too many foreigners stay at the Korean hotels when they travel to Korea,” she said. “It was not too long ago that more than 90 percent of foreigners stayed at local hotels in Seoul, but now it’s around 50-60 percent.”

Read the full story at the Korea Times.

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