As Busan continues to reach new highs in COVID-19 cases daily, the public is divided as to whether tourists are welcome in the city.
The city entered level 3 earlier this week, but with a constant rise of cases, level 4 may not be far behind, which brings much stricter restrictions currently being implemented around the capital region in Seoul.
Level 4 could be initiated if there are 137 cases confirmed for more than three days according to the government’s social distance rules.
116 COVID-19 infections were found in Busan yesterday, in another day of record-breaking daily new infections.
Busan’s large rise stems from out-of-towners taking advantage of the city’s earlier lower restrictions in early July with hundreds of cases coming from entertainment venues around the city, angering local residents.
Businesses, however, especially in the tourism industry, welcome the rise of tourists as they still struggle to survive the second summer of restrictions on their businesses.
Recent statistics from the Korea Tourism Organization have shown an increase of 800,000 tourists visiting Haeundae in H1 over 2020.
Local media reports that merchants around tourism areas would suffer greatly if Level 4 measures were taken and even would be even worse if beaches around the city face harsher restrictions.
The Busan Tourism Promotion team doesn’t have plans to close any tourist destinations yet, but local governments are in a lose-lose situation with tourists, merchants, and citizen’s all suffering from COVID-19 fatigue.