Jeju Island is considering suspending a visa-free entry program for Chinese visitors in a bid to prevent the inflow of those infected with the deadly coronavirus virus, the provincial government said Thursday.
The government is discussing with the Ministry of Justice on imposing a temporary halt to the system that permits foreigners to stay on the island for 30 days without visa.
“We are exchanging opinions such as measures to minimize the suspension period for Chinese visitors due to difficulties in the tourism industry,” an official said.
Thanks to the program, which came into effect in 2006, Chinese visitors account for the lion’s share of all foreign visitors to the southern resort island.
Some 797,300 Chinese visitors made visa-free entry to the island last year, accounting for 98 percent of all foreign tourists. During the Lunar New Year holiday period from Friday through Monday, the number of Chinese visitors arriving on the island came to 8,900.
The Chinese city of Wuhan is the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak with scores of flights to and from China canceled this week.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org