June 25, 2024
People visit Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul, South Korea, on May 24, 2024. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

Cultural affinity and similarities in traditions make China an attractive destination for Japanese and South Korean tourists, some of whom are fascinated by the diverse landscapes of the vast nation.

While many Japanese and South Korean tourists love to visit China, the two countries are also favored destinations for Chinese holidaymakers.

by Xinhua writer Tai Beiping

SEOUL, May 27 (Xinhua) — China, Japan and South Korea agreed at their ninth trilateral summit here on Monday to designate the year 2025 and 2026 as the China-Japan-South Korea Cultural Exchange Year.

Geographically close and culturally connected, the three East Asian neighbors boast robust people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and thriving tourism is giving a further boost to interactions among their people.

Masato Takashima, a Japanese travel magazine writer who recently paid a five-day visit to China, was deeply impressed by people’s love for traditional Chinese attire Hanfu.

“Chinese Hanfu culture is amazing. In Xi’an and Luoyang, people don’t just wear Hanfu at tourist sites, they incorporate it into their daily lives. You can see people wearing it on the streets. It gives you a sense of traveling through time,” Takashima told Xinhua.

“The article I wrote for a famous travel magazine is about to be published. I hope more Japanese people can understand the prosperous and beautiful China,” said the Japanese writer.

Cultural affinity and similarities in traditions make China an attractive destination for Japanese and South Korean tourists, some of whom are fascinated by the diverse landscapes of the vast nation.

“The buildings in Shanghai are tall and gorgeous, and the people there are friendly,” Kim Rin, a South Korean tourist who recently traveled to China with her boyfriend, told Xinhua.

The number of South Korean tourists traveling to China has increased significantly lately. Figures from South Korea’s largest travel agency Hana Tour showed that bookings for package tours to China in May increased by 608 percent year-on-year.

Apart from large cities like Beijing and Shanghai, places like Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province and Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province are also among the most favored choices by South Korean travelers.

Tourists visit the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Zhangjiajie, central China’s Hunan Province, on Jan. 3, 2024. (Photo by Wu Yongbing/Xinhua)

The fascination with pandas is also attracting visitors to China. After Fu Bao, the first giant panda born in South Korea returned to China, some South Korean travel agencies launched “panda tourism” itineraries, taking tourists to China’s Sichuan Province to see the adorable pandas.

“I am looking forward to my next trip to China, and I hope to visit cities with more local characteristics,” Kim said after concluding her trip to China’s modern metropolis of Shanghai.

While many Japanese and South Korean tourists love to visit China, the two countries are also favored destinations for Chinese holidaymakers.

Latest data from Ctrip, a leading travel platform in China, showed that Japan and South Korea are among the top three international destinations for Chinese tourists during the Labor Day holiday.

In the first quarter of 2024, South Korea received around 3.4 million foreign tourists, of which 1.01 million were from China, ranking first among all foreign tourists, government figures showed.

Xu Qing, a 76-year-old Chinese tourist who recently traveled to Seoul with her daughter and granddaughter, told Xinhua: “South Korea is very close to China. It is very convenient to travel in Seoul.”

“The people here are very friendly. The city is very clean and very safe,” she said.

China is also an important source of tourists for Japan and the purchasing power of Chinese visitors is loved by business operators in the tourism sector.

Data released by the Japan Tourism Agency revealed that Chinese tourists in Japan had the highest average per capita spending among all foreign visitors in the first quarter, amounting to 293,100 yen (1,867 U.S. dollars).

Apart from shopping, Chinese tourists are getting increasingly focused on experiencing the local culture and traditions, Japanese media reported.

A recent article in The Yomiuri Shimbun said that Chinese tourists visiting Japan seem to be changing their spending habits and are more focused on experiencing the Japanese culture.

Held after a hiatus of more than four years, the trilateral summit in Seoul is expected to add momentum to cooperation among the three East Asian neighbors. Cultural exchanges and economic and trade cooperation will get a further boost.  Enditem

(Xinhua reporters Feng Yasong in Seoul, Guo Dan and Tu Yifan in Tokyo also contributed to the story.)

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