S. Korea Travel Policies to Not Immediately Benefit GKL

S. Korea Travel Policies to Not Immediately Benefit GKL

GKL, an operator running three foreigner-exclusive casinos in South Korea, spoke with GGRAsia about how travel laws will affect its business. According to the casino company, the recently-eased restrictions will not immediately help its business pick up.

Visa Issuing Still Takes a Long Time

Two days ago, the Ministry of Justice of South Korea announced that it will be lifting some of the travel restrictions, making the C-3 visa application process easier. This will make it easier for travelers from Macau, Japan or Taiwan to visit the country, so long as they provide evidence of a return trip.

This change will likely benefit GKL’s business as the Japanese constitute a significant part of its core visitors. However, the eased restrictions will not have an immediate favorable effect on GKL’s business, the company shared in an interview with GGRAsia. A GKL spokesperson explained that issuing visas currently takes around a month. Therefore, even if restrictions are to be eased up, it will take a while for customers to arrive.

C-3 visas are visitor visas that allow foreigners to travel to the country for short periods of time. Foreigners can apply for one at one of the South Koran embassies or consulates. The current changes also concern the resumption of the travel route between South Korea and Japan. The airline companies serving the route announced that there will be eight trips a week. The trips will cover the route between the Haneda airport in Japan and the Gimpo airport in South Korea.

South Korea’s Travel Restrictions Are subject to Change

South Korea had suspended most foreigners from visiting the country for a month because of the rampant COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the virus’ spread is more or less under control, the Asian country will once again welcome leisure visitors. The government still warned that it may once again decide to restrict travel, depending on how the COVID-19 situation unravels.

In the meantime, the eased restrictions are welcome news to GKL, which runs three foreigner-only casinos in South Korea. These include the Gangnam COEX and Gangbuk Millennium Hilton casinos in Seoul and the casino at the Lotte Hotel in Busan. While the eased restrictions will not immediately benefit GKL’s business, they are sure to contribute in the long run.

Japanese customers make up a large portion of the visitors of foreigner-exclusive casinos. This trend applies not only to GKL but to other foreigner-only operators as well. It is yet to be seen how and when the new policies will affect the South Korean operators’ businesses.

Author: Ian Douglas