China / Society

S Korea to issue 10-year visa to highly-educated Chinese tourists

By Wu Yan ( Updated: 2016-01-28 16:10
S Korea to issue 10-year visa to highly-educated Chinese tourists

People stroll under cherry blossom trees during Chinhae Cherry Blossom Festival in Chang Won, southern city of South Korea, on April 7, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

South Korea will from Thursday for the first time issue 10-year multiple entry visas to Chinese tourists. But only if they are specialized professionals such as a lawyer or professor or hold a Master's degree or above, Yonhap News Agency, citing the South Korean Ministry of Justice, reported.

Application requirements for multiple entry visas will also be relaxed, with the age restriction starting from 55. Previously the restriction was set at 60 or above.

The Yonhap News Agency estimated that there will be 80 million potential applicants eligible for the new multiple entry visas. At the same time, the length of stay for each visit will be extended from 30 days to 90.

The move means that South Korea becomes the latest country to further open its door to Chinese tourists under the stimulus of the latter's strong spending power.

Chinese tourists contribute 1.6 percent of S Korean GDP in 2015

The number of Chinese tourists to South Korea was estimated to reach 6.11 million in 2015, accounting for more than 40 percent of foreign tourists, China Central Television reported.

Most importantly, Chinese tourists spend more. According to data from the Korea Tourism Organization, Chinese tourists averagely spent $2,200 (14,469 yuan) in South Korea last year, twice the average of all foreign tourists.

The data shows more than 70 percent of Chinese tourists visit South Korea for shopping, about 20 percent for experiencing Korean Wave, or Korean popular culture, and others for plastic surgery and sightseeing.

The Korea Tourism Organization estimated that Chinese tourists generated $22 billion of economic benefits in accommodation, transportation and shopping among other fields, which is equal to contributing 1.6 percent of the country's GDP last year.

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