A group of 32 Chinese tourists departed Beijing Capital International Airport for South Korea on Saturday, after an eight-month group travel suspension ended, Chinanews.com reported.
The group, the first tourist group from the Chinese mainland, acquired their group visa on November 30, 2017, and began a five-day sightseeing trip based in Seoul after landing at Incheon International Airport.
Since March this year, in the wake of deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), well-known Chinese travel agencies like tuniu.com and ly.com suspended their group tours to South Korea.
China National Tourism Administration also reminded Chinese group travelers to choose safer travel destinations to avoid risks, with a group travel suspension lasted for eight months.
Statistics from Hyundai Research Institute revealed that deployment of THAAD in South Korea resulted in a decline of 7,988,000 Chinese travelers to the country, causing economic losses of 18.1 trillion won (16.72 billion U.S. dollars).
On November 28, 2017, it was confirmed that Chinese group tours to South Korea would restart due to encouraging signs of a thaw in bilateral relations. A staff member from a Beijing-based travel agency noted that group travel to South Korea would need time to recover in accordance with market demand.