China's South Korea travel ban could hurt Seoul's hotels

Seoul (pixabay)

Another travel ban is poised to affect another country's hospitality scene. China has reportedly banned its travel agencies from selling tour programs to South Korea, which could significantly damage the smaller country's inbound tourism-related industries. 

The China National Tourism Administration reportedly called in two dozen travel agencies in Beijing and instructed them to stop selling South Korean tour programs, including group packages and services for individual tourists. Today, South Korea's publicly traded hotel companies were already seeing a decline on the country's stock market. Hotel Shilla, a luxury hotel operator, dropped 13.10 percent to 43,799 won.

The travel ban could be the latest move to protest South Korea’s decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system on the peninsula despite Beijing’s protests. 

The CNTA declined to comment on the matter when reached by the Korea Herald on Friday. 

As we noted earlier this week, South Korea's hotel scene is booming--thanks in no small part to the growing number of Chinese visitors, who are driving development of midscale and upscale hotels in downtown Seoul. While global chains have traditionally focused on luxury properties in the popular tourism districts, local operators are looking to attract business travelers and those focused on shopping in Myeongdong. 

If the CNTA is discouraging travel to South Korea, and if this ban doesn't end quickly, the globally branded hotels in the country's pipeline may struggle to come to fruition.