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The death of the ferry hit the tourism industry of South Korea

Local festivals, schoolchildren's travels and ferry flights have been canceled or postponed due to the tragic death of the Sewol ferry, which dealt a serious blow to the tourism industry, The Korea Herald newspaper reported.

Provincial governments are now winding down plans for spring festivals in May. Authorities in Jeolla Province announced the cancellation of the popular Hampyeong Butterfly Festival, which was due to open on 2 May. Other major spring festivals such as the Ceramics Festival in Incheon and the Boseong Green Tea Festival were postponed to a later date at the last moment.

Travel companies in Seoul have seen more than half of their group travel bookings, the Korea Tourism Association said. Local press reports said that reservations for more than 7000 plane tickets were canceled after the Ministry of Education banned school travel in the first half of this year. “Not only school travel, but travel requests are generally very limited,” said a spokesperson for Hana Tour.

"The most affected travel on ferries, which are not received applications." Travel agencies organize ferry trips to popular islands such as Ullengdo, Baengnyeongdo and Hongdo. A series of cancellations can lead travel companies and related agencies to financial difficulties. Small companies may have trouble paying loans and salaries to their employees.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism was forced to postpone its ambitious plan to promote tourism. The day before the ferry died, it decided to declare the first and second weeks of May as “weeks of travel”, calling on citizens to take holidays in the provinces of Korea. More 1000 restaurants, travel agencies and hotels have expressed a desire to participate in the “week trips” by offering discounts. 107 travel programs were developed for these activities.

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