South Korea is taking action to combat the bedbug infestation with 17 outbreaks reported this week. In addition to the 30 reported cases at the end of October, the government of South Korea stated that they will eliminate these pests in a four-week campaign.

This campaign is focused on inspecting and implementing pest control measures at facilities where bedbugs are suspected to be present, such as bathhouses, dormitories, and childcare facilities.

Bedbugs are small insects that stay in small spaces in beds and sofas. They are also capable of sticking on clothes and bags. This parasitic insect cannot transfer disease, but their bites can cause itching and can lead to scarring.

 South Korea is Battling a Bedbug Outbreak as Cases Climb
(Photo : David Cooper | Toronto Star | Getty Images)
South Korea is battling against a bedbug outbreak

The city government of Seoul is launching a new system called 'Zero Bedbugs City, Seoul' for reporting and eliminating bedbugs. This aims to inspect 3,175 lodging facilities, bathhouses, and Korean saunas that provide rooms with different temperatures.

The city has also stated that it will offer pest control assistance for small housing units which generally have a size of 3-6 square meters (30-60 square feet) and are home to some of Seoul's poorest residents.

Seoul has said allocated 500 million won (approximately $380,000). It likewise plans to establish a team to fight bedbugs.

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Will Bedbugs Affect Korea's Tourism?

The Statista Research Department conducted a survey on international visitors in South Korea in 2022, and more than 37% of the travelers say that they are visiting for leisure or holiday activities. Given this, the local government aims to avoid having bedbbugs negatively affect the country's tourism.

The city government stated that special inspections will be carried out throughout the year-end holiday season, with a focus on areas where there is a high concentration of accommodation and bathhouses. These are usually very popular among foreigners.

Aside from this, hotels are also said to be inspected. They are also expected to do obligatory disinfection based on hygiene standards set.

Tourists have been advised to thoroughly disinfect their travel supplies. Korea Airports Corporation said it plans to hold a screening and checking of South Korea's Airports and its facilities. These include terminal lounges, children's playgrounds, and airport baggage screening area one to two times a week.

What Do Travelers Need to Do?

Korean Travels provides advice on how to travel to any destination that has a bedbug problem.

It is important for tourists to ensure that the luggage used is smooth to prevent bed bugs from attaching to it. It is best if tourists can put items in clean zip-lock or plastic bags.

Having flashlights is essential to spot pests in both the environment and your hotel. Inquiring about the hotel's bedbug policies is a necessary step for travelers to take.

Aside from this, practicing good hygiene is the most significant advice that travelers can follow while staying in Korea.

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