Despite the declaration of the end of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) outbreak in December 2015 in South Korea that the epidemic lasted for 2 months, the depressed domestic economy and tourism sector did not immediately restore. Thus, it is important to explore how much of an impact the disease had and how long the damage lasted. Using quantitative time-series models, the present study explored the influence of MERS on inbound tourism in South Korea and estimates the concrete impact of MERS on the market in 2015. Monthly international tourist arrival data were provided by the Korea Tourism Organization from January 2009 to December 2015. The results showed that the contagious disease was statistically and negatively significant for inbound tourists visiting South Korea. During the time of MERS, from June 2015 to September 2015, the total effect was estimated to be −1,968,765 tourists with a loss of 3.1 billion USD in receipts. This study can not only better estimate the impact on tourism number of inbound tourist arrivals, but also supports policy-makers in their attempts to establish proper policies to assure tourists of their safety in such crises.
- international tourism demand
- time series model
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management