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Travel agency suspended for coercing Chinese tourists into shopping

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This undated photo shows Chinese tourists shopping at a duty free shop in Seoul. Yonhap

A travel agency in Korea has been suspended for coercing Chinese group tourists into shopping while visiting the country, officials said Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, a Chinese traveler who used the unnamed company in February filed a report to a tourism inconvenience complaint center about the practice of shopping coercion by the agency.

During an investigation, tourism authorities discovered problematic practices by the company and imposed a one-month business suspension. Subsequently, it was learned that the company had rented out its name to a non-designated travel agency to handle duty-free shopping programs, leading to the final decision to suspend its business.

It marked the first time for the government to suspend operations of a travel agency for such practices. Regulations for penalizing travel agencies for disorderly conduct in the travel industry were established in 2016.

The number of Chinese tourists to Korea during the first quarter reached 1.01 million, ranking first in inbound travelers among all nations. (Yonhap)

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