One of South Korea’s foreigner-only casino operators has told GGRAsia that it does not expect an immediate lift in business linked to further easing – announced on Wednesday – of visa conditions for inbound travellers, specifically those from either Japan, Taiwan, or Macau.
“South Korea’s tourist visa issuing process in Japan takes around a month at the moment, so even if the [South Korean] government would smooth the C-3 visa application process, we don’t anticipate a lift of inbound travellers from Japan immediately”, said a representative of Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd (GKL) in comments to GGRAsia in response to our telephone enquiry.
The C-3 visa is a short-length permit for independent inbound travel to South Korea. Currently under that system, a would-be traveller is required to apply to a South Korean embassy or consulate, to get one.
The GKL spokesperson noted to GGRAsia that – on the basis of visa issuance timings for inbound Japanese – the resumption on Wednesday of the Seoul Gimpo air route to and from Japan’s Tokyo Haneda airport would also not in likelihood give an immediate lift to the firm’s business.
GKL runs three foreigner-only casinos under the Seven Luck brand: two in the capital Seoul – Gangnam COEX and Gangbuk Millennium Hilton – and one in Busan Lotte hotel.
GGRAsia also approached another leading foreigner-only operator, Paradise Co Ltd, on the same topic, but had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
In pre-pandemic trading, customers from Japan have been an important element of business for South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos, according to previous filings made by their operators to the Korea Exchange.
According to the respective websites of All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air, there should be a total of eight round-trip services weekly between Gimpo and Haneda from Wednesday (June 29) until further notice.
South Korea’s Ministry of Justice – the department responsible for immigration matters – announced in a press release on Wednesday, it would from Friday (July 1) simplify the C-3 visa application process for travellers with either Japan, Taiwan, or Macau travel documents. They will nonetheless need to show evidence of a round-trip flight booking.
The release said any C-3 visa applicant holding those travel documents would also be considered for a multiple-entry authorisation for short-term visits, with validity of such authorisation spanning up to a year.
A holder of a travel document from either Japan, Taiwan or Macau, intending to journey as part of a group of more than five, would have the possibility of applying for entry via South Korea’s e-visa scheme. It avoids the need for would-be travellers to apply to a South Korean diplomatic office for permission.
The Ministry of Justice’s Wednesday statement noted that that inbound visa policy for South Korea could be subject to further change, depending on Covid-19 pandemic conditions.
Leisure travellers from overseas have once again been able to apply for visas to visit the South Korean peninsula, since June 1, following suspension of inbound tourism at the height of the pandemic.
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