The major commercial districts in Seoul have been even more devastated by coronavirus lockdowns in the first half of the year even as other tourist hotspots saw a slight recovery.

According to Shinhan Card on Monday, credit card usage in restaurants and convenience stores in Seoul’s Hongik University, Itaewon and Gangnam areas in the first and second quarters this year fell on-year because they were hit harder by lockdown rules than residential areas.

Card usage in the Hongik University area decreased more than 50 percent in the first quarter and 20.2 percent in the second. It also dropped 15.9 percent in the Gangnam area and 2.6 percent in Itaewon in the second quarter, which was plunged into gloom by highly publicized group infections at nightclubs.

But in restaurants and convenience stores in provincial tourist spots, sales rose as lockdown-fatigued Koreans fled the capital. Usage in restaurants jumped 63.5 percent and at convenience stores 51.7 percent in Jeju in the second quarter. It also increased by up to 25 percent in Gangneung and Busan. 

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