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Thai Tourist Numbers Fall over South Korea Entry Rejections


webfact

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The number of Thais visiting South Korea between January and April this year saw a significant drop by 21% year-on-year, attributed mainly to unexplained entry refusals at the border. 

 

While the overall number of foreign tourists to South Korea increased by an impressive 87% during the same period, the Thai visitors' figures have slumped, as reported by the Yonhap News Agency.

 

Thailand, which used to be the top Southeast Asian country in terms of tourists to South Korea, has now fallen behind Vietnam and the Philippines. Back in 2019, Thailand saw 572,000 visitors to Seoul, surpassing figures from Vietnam (554,000) and the Philippines (504,000).

 

Industry experts believe that the decline in Thai visitors is due to negative sentiment around unexplained entry refusals. South Korea's recent introduction of the K-ETA (Korea Electronic Travel Authorization) system mandates that travellers from 112 countries, including Thailand, obtain approval online before departure.

 

Despite compliance with the K-ETA process, numerous Thai tourists have faced entry rejections upon arrival in Seoul, often without clear explanations. This has led to dissatisfaction and the rapid spread of these stories on Thai social media, deterring potential tourists.

 

The South China Morning Post highlighted that the stricter entry requirements are linked to Thailand being a significant source of illegal immigrants to South Korea. The Korean Justice Ministry has reiterated that the measures aim to curb illegal immigration and are not discriminatory against Thai nationals.

 

The ongoing issue has raised concerns among South Korean tourism authorities who are targeting to attract 20 million foreign tourists annually. "It can only be explained by the K-ETA issue,” a Thai Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism official stated.

 

The Ministry of Justice remains firm on its stance despite a request for a temporary exemption from the system for this year, which has been designated as 'Visit Korea Year'.

 

Incheon. File photo courtesy: Wikidata

 

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-- 2024-06-21

 

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46 minutes ago, hotchilli said:

Not unexplained.

They are refusing to allow dubious single Thai girls from entering S. Korea, and then over-staying their entry visas.

My 50 year old Thai wife wanted to visit her daughter in South Korea, who is married to a Korean. My wife was denied 3 times with the KETA program.  You had to figure out how to specify certain things on the form to make them happy. So not just dubious singles.

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 South Korea Entry Rejection 

 

There are many Thais  Trying to go there on a so called holiday but they are going there to work Illegally and they don't come back  home when there holiday time /date is due 

There's a few young Thais  down here that are been refused the last few years just for that reason .the S Koreans seem to be able to pick them out of the crowd.

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They've likely been rejecting Koreans just like the rest of us for many years now, I guess they decided it's time for a little well deserved reciprocity.

Edited by ukrules
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15 hours ago, webfact said:

Thai tourists have faced entry rejections upon arrival in Seoul, often without clear explanations.

Let's see.. single girl travelling alone with little baggage. Hmm.. Should we let her enter? 

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18 hours ago, webfact said:

The South China Morning Post highlighted that the stricter entry requirements are linked to Thailand being a significant source of illegal immigrants to South Korea.

 

There you have it. What more in terms of "explanations" would they want to hear? Risk assessment. 

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