Travel venture attracts criticism

The Hankyoreh states that “Lotte JTB, a joint travel venture between retail giant Lotte Group and Japan’s largest travel agency, Japan Travel Bureau (JTB), began operations earlier this month, creating a stir in the local tourism industry.On July 18, The Korea Tourism Association denounced Lotte JTB’s advance into the tourism market and submitted a petition to the Presidential office calling for revision of a related law to prevent large companies from entering the tourism industry. Lotte Group is the fifth largest conglomerate by assets in Korea.According to the petition, ‘Lotte JTB’s business goal is to attract 1.2 million South Korean customers to overseas trips in 2011. The figure accounts for a third of the domestic overseas tourism market. In this case, most of the smaller travel agencies will inevitably go bankrupt.”The establishment of Lotte JTB is legally flawless, but we are very angry at conglomerates that try to destroy the domestic market by attracting foreign giants,’ said the association.In response, an official of Lotte JTB said, ‘When we made our business plan, we aimed at attracting 1.2 million people, however that is just an estimate. JTB first looked for a Korean partner to provide services to Japanese visitors to South Korea’.”

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