|A Japanese hot spring town of Yufuin, one of Korean tourists' favorite destinations, remains uncrowded, Wednesday, as many Koreans refuse to visit there as part of the "Boycott Japan" campaign. / Yonhap|
By Kim Hyun-bin
The "Boycott Japan" movement is severely affecting local airlines with their passenger load rate dropping by more than 10 percent, compared to the same period last year.
Local airlines have been halting or reducing flights to Japan and increasing flights to Southeast Asian and Chinese destinations instead.
In response to the Japanese government's tightened export controls on Korea, Koreans have refused to buy Japanese products or travel to the country.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Wednesday, the passenger load rate from Aug. 4 to 10 stood at 71.5 percent, a drop of 13 percentage points compared to the same period last year.
From July 28 to Aug. 3, the load factor stood at 75.7 percent ― a drop of 12 percentage points from last year, which can be interpreted as fewer Koreans visiting the island country.
"We have been heavily affected by the Boycott Japan movement. The passengers who are boarding our flights are only businessmen, study abroad students, Japanese nationals and people who couldn't cancel their flights. The number of tourists has dropped drastically," an airline official said.
Since early July, the number of passengers bound for Japan has been in decline.
The trade war between the two countries does not just hurt the Korean economy but also that of Japan, according to a recent report.
The Hyundai Research Institute released a report Tuesday titled "Korea-Japan economic damage from reduction in travelers," which states Japan's economic growth is expected drop 0.1 percentage points just from the reduction of Korean travelers to the country.
According to the report, if the two countries' travelers continue to decline through next year, there could be an 81.2 percent reduction in Korean travelers to the island country.
Last year, the number of Koreans visiting Japan was at an all-time high of 7.54 million people.
The drastic decline in Korean passengers will have a negative impact on travel services and transportation entities in Japan.
The report says the reduction is predicted to have an impact on production worth 884.6 billion yen (over 10 trillion won), value-added loss of 455.8 billion yen and a cut in employment estimated at 95,785 people.
Korea is estimated to lose around 39 percent of Japanese tourists, creating a negative impact on Korea's production of 1.87 trillion won ($1.54 billion) and 768 billion won loss in added value, while employment will decrease by 18,176 people.
The loss is expected to drop Korea's economic growth by 0.05 percentage points. However, the reduction in travelers is expected to hit Japan's economy much harder.
"Japan will suffer a greater economic loss from the reduction of travelers between the two countries," Hyundai Research Institute said. "However, it will also create a loss to the Korean market and damage our local tourism industry."