GKL says there won’t be an uptick in business soon following easing of travel between South Korea and Japan
One of South Korea’s foreign-only casino operators told GGRAsia that it does not expect an immediate increase in business linked to a further easing – announced on Wednesday – of visa requirements for inbound travelers , especially those from Japan, Taiwan or Macau.
“The process of issuing tourist visas from South Korea to Japan currently takes about a month, so even if the [South Korean] government would facilitate the C-3 visa application process, we do not anticipate an immediate increase in travelers from Japan,” a representative from Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd (GKL) said in comments to GGRAsia in response to our request. telephone.
The C-3 visa is a short-term permit for independent inbound travel to South Korea. Currently, under this system, a potential traveler must apply to a South Korean embassy or consulate to obtain one.
GKL’s spokesperson told GGRAsia that – based on visa issuance delays for incoming Japanese – Wednesday’s resumption of the Seoul Gimpo air route to and from Japan’s Tokyo Haneda Airport would not yield probably not an immediate boost to business either.
GKL operates three foreign-only casinos under the Seven Luck brand: two in the capital Seoul – Gangnam COEX and Gangbuk Millennium Hilton – and one at the Busan Lotte Hotel.
GGRAsia has also approached another major foreign-only operator, Paradise Co Ltd, over the same matter, but had not received a response by the time this story went live.
In pre-pandemic trade, customers from Japan have been an important business element for South Korea’s foreign-only casinos, according to previous statements made by their operators to the Korea Stock Exchange.
According to the respective websites of All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Japan Airlines and Korean Air, there are expected to be a total of eight weekly return flights between Gimpo and Haneda from Wednesday June 29 until new order.
South Korea’s Ministry of Justice – the department responsible for immigration matters – announced in a press release on Wednesday that it will simplify the C-3 visa application process for travelers with travel documents from Japan, Taiwan or Macao. However, they must provide proof of a return flight reservation.
The statement said any C-3 visa applicant holding these travel documents would also be considered for multiple-entry authorization for short-term visits, with the validity of such authorization extending for up to one year.
A travel document holder from Japan, Taiwan or Macau, intending to travel as part of a group of more than five people, would have the option of applying for entry through the electronic visa system from South Korea. This saves potential travelers from having to seek permission from a South Korean diplomatic office.
Wednesday’s statement from the Justice Department noted that the inbound visa policy for South Korea may be subject to further changes, depending on the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foreign leisure travelers were once again able to apply for visas to visit the South Korean peninsula, since June 1following the suspension of inbound tourism at the height of the pandemic.