Korea’s four major travel agencies have cut their staff nearly in half over the past two years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, data showed on Tuesday.
The four players – Hana Tour, Modetour Network, Yellow Balloon Tour and Very Good Tour – had a combined roster of 2,385 at the end of last year, down 48% from two years earlier, data shows. of the Financial Supervisory Service.
Industry leader Hana Tour’s roster plunged 52.8% to 1,180 during the cited period, with No. 2 player Modetour Network’s roster dropping 42.6% to 665.
Yellow Balloon Tour’s membership fell 46.1% to 298, and Very Good Tour’s membership fell 35.3% to 242.
Their job cuts came as travel agencies remained in the red for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hana Tour posted a consolidated operating loss of 127.3 billion won ($105 million) in 2021, losing money for the second consecutive year. The three remaining companies also saw their operating losses widen in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Pricked by the coronavirus pandemic, Korean casino operators and duty-free shops have also been forced to cut payrolls over the past two years amid mounting deficits, according to separate industry data.
State-owned Kangwon Land, the country’s only casino open to locals, had 3,858 employees at the end of December 2021, down 25% from two years earlier.
Another state-owned casino operator, Grand Korea Leisure (GKL) which caters only to foreigners, and private casino operator Paradise Group also cut their workforces by 10.4% and 5.3%, respectively, over the course of the period mentioned.
Two major duty-free operators – Hotel Shilla and Hotel Lotte – cut their workforces by 11.7% and 6.2%, respectively, over the two-year period.
Industry watchers said the local tourism industry could get a slight boost from Seoul’s recent move to ease coronavirus restrictions for inbound and outbound travellers.