People walk at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, March 25, 2022. Photo by Reuters/Heo Ran
The only travel firm to bring Vietnamese tourists to South Korea’s Gangwon under a visa-free policy via commercial flights has stopped receiving new bookings until the end of this month.
“The only Vietnamese travel agency designated by South Korean authorities to bring visa-free passengers to Gangwon Province via commercial flights operated Fly Gangwon stopped taking new bookings from Sunday to rearrange management issues,” the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Vietnam told VnExpress.
This means Vietnamese tourists from Hanoi and Ho chi Minh City now cannot fly to Yang Yang County in Gangwon Province on regular weekly flights operated by Fly Gangwon under the visa-free program resumed on June 1.
Fly Gangwon launched its first direct routes from Hanoi and HCMC to Yangyang on Oct. 13-14.
In Yangyang, a popular destination for surfers, visitors can stay for 15 days without a visa, but need to book tours through agencies designated by Gangwon Province.
Late last week, a Korean tourism forum posted on its Facebook page, saying Fly Gangwon stopped receiving Vietnamese passengers to Yangyang under the visa exemption policy as Gangwon authorities had halted the program after a trial period.
South Korea had become a favorite tourist destination for Vietnamese before the pandemic.
The country received over 80,000 Vietnamese tourists in January-August, a far cry from 2019’s figure of 550,000.