MERS shows risk of tourism dependency in S.Korea

South Korea says its tourism arrivals have now almost recovered following an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome in May that triggered a three-month plunge in visitor numbers. The outbreak, which caused 37 deaths, led to a more than 40 percent drop in arrivals in June, a 53 percent decline in July a 26.5 percent slide in August. It also highlighted the vulnerability of the South Korean casino market to tourism trends, given locals are not permitted to gamble. Paradise Co. said casino sales dropped 50.2 percent in June, while Q3 profit also plunged by just over 46 percent. Grand Korea Leisure said the average daily number of visitors to its Seven Luck casinos dropped from nearly 4,900 in May to 3,200 in June and 2,500 in July. Authorities have pushed hard to woo back the tourists, especially those from Mainland China, which had been the fastest-growing segment. Growing China visitor numbers...

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