S.Korean govt advised to heed threat of Thai boycott
text size

S.Korean govt advised to heed threat of Thai boycott

A tourist takes a photo at Bukchon Hank Village, an old living town and one of the main attractions for visitors to Seoul. (Photo: Bangkok Post)
A tourist takes a photo at Bukchon Hank Village, an old living town and one of the main attractions for visitors to Seoul. (Photo: Bangkok Post)

The South Korean government has been advised by its own media to take notice of the call for a boycott of the country by unhappy Thai tourists.

The Korea Times said in its editorial on Monday the Seoul government should take note of the travellers' complaints, which could impact on the tourism sector.

The boycott campaign was launched after many Thais have been turned back by immigration officials on arrival at South Korean airports.

The "#ban Korea travel" hashtag in Thai on the X platform was created last year and is still gaining support. The hashtag has gone viral on the social networking site, with angry Thais accusing South Korean immigration officials of targetting and discriminating against arriving Thai tourists. 

"Immigration officers are responsible for screening criminals, potential illegal immigrants and would-be terrorists in the guise of tourists, to prevent them from entering this country," the Korea Times said.

"Therefore, blaming hard-working immigration officers for a tourism backlash in Thailand is not fair," it said.

Even so, the South Korean government "should also pay greater attention to making the hallyu-driven tourism boom sustainable and respond effectively to a backlash like the anti-Korea campaign in Thailand".

"Otherwise, the hard-won tourism boom triggered by hallyu could be short-lived," the editorial warned.

Hallyu means the Korean wave, which draws international tourists, including Thai visitors, to the country due to the popularity of Korean dramas and K-pop music.

The number of Thai visitors to South Korea in the first four months of this year dropped 21% to 119,455 over the same period of last year. Thai and South Korean tourism operators and officials linked the sharp decline to the boycott campaign. The number of tourists from other countries increased. 

South Korea's Justice Ministry said it would not lower its guard or the strict screening of visitors intended to keep out people entering the country to work illegally, the Chosun Daily reported on Friday.

"The number of illegal Thai immigrants in South Korea has nearly tripled from 52,000 in 2015 to 157,000 in September last year, underscoring the challenges in managing this issue," it said.

Thais working illegally in South Korea are known colloquially as "little ghosts". 

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (20)