South Korea is moving forward with suspending the majority of COVID-19 travel restrictions, albeit with a few caveats. The country prepares to welcome tourists back starting from March 21, but this will come with its own requirements, including the fact that any inbound traveler must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The new travel requirements were revealed last week and they would require anyone who wishes to visit the country to have had at least three COVID-19 shots. South Korea will then lift its travel restrictions for those who have only received two jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine as of April 1.
International Tourists to Prop Ailing Casinos
International tourism should allow South Korea’s 17 casinos to see some restart of operations. The casinos have been dragged through the mud unable to operate or only maintain skeletal services, prone to sudden and strict lockdowns. An immediate rebound is not very likely, though, as the number of foreigners isn’t going to be very high at first.
Chinese tourists will most likely be absent due to stricter traveling rules from the mainland. In the meantime, the country’s casinos are predominantly focused on travel with 16 out of the 17 properties only available to tourists and foreigners. South Korea is not going to let all visitors in and mandatory quarantine – regardless of vaccination status – will be required for visitors from Myanmar, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and surprisingly Ukraine.
Anyone entering will have to register at Q-CODE which is South Korea’s digital platform for managing quarantine and inbound travelers. Whether there is enough momentum of foreign travelers to resuscitate the economy is another matter altogether.
Casinos Posting Slightly Better Results As Well
All properties have been able to resist although their revenue has been completely wiped by the pandemic. Recovery may be on its way in 2022, however. Grand Korea Leisure, the owner of three casino properties in the country, all of which focus exclusively on foreigners, argued that it saw $5.6 million in revenue in February, a 29.6% drop from January, but still much better than February 2020 when revenue plunged by 1,250%.
Other casinos are facing similar situations and recovery will be slow. However, a return of international travelers may indeed offer some reprieve for cash-strapped casino properties in South Korea and Asia as a whole.