HONG KONG — Chinese tourism to South Korea and Korean duty-free sales have rebounded after the drop off earlier this year due to an outbreak of the MERS virus, according to a new report from Daiwa Capital Markets.

Chinese inbound tourists recovered by double-digit percentage growth and Korean duty-free sales turned positive in October, the report said. The number of Chinese tourists arriving in Korea was 650,174 for the month, up 15.6 percent year-over-year, the first double-digit percentage growth after the MERS outbreak in May.

South Korea’s last remaining MERS patient died Wednesday, five and a half months after being diagnosed, health authorities said, although the outbreak was more or less contained by July.

“Because of MERS, more Chinese went to Japan than to Korea but this trend reversed in September,” the Daiwa report written by analyst Iris Park said. “With the return of these Chinese tourists, Korean duty-free sales, which account for around 20 percent of the domestic revenue, also recovered in October. It grew 5.7 percent year-on-year, according to the Korea Duty-Free Association.”

With Paris, long the number one outbound tourist destination for Chinese travelers, still reeling from terror attacks and the ongoing threats in Belgium, the globe-trotting habits of Chinese shoppers are sure to shift.

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Even if not able to travel to Korea themselves, the Chinese are eager to get their hands on Korean beauty products as imports data shows.  Last month, the growth in Korean cosmetics imports to China outpaced all other countries rising 203.9 percent from a year ago to $57.6 million, according to the Daiwa report.

Despite a weakened overall consumer environment in China, beauty is a sector that’s growing by leaps and bounds. The total value of cosmetics imported into China in October rose by 86.7 percent year-over-year to $506.9 million. France remains the number one country of origin for beauty goods with October imports growing 15.5 percent to $95.9 million. Japanese beauty imports for the month grew 36 percent to $54 million.

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