Myeong-dong: South Korea’s shopping hub facing big crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Myeong-dong in South Korea is one of the must-see destinations when visiting the region. It has been known as the shopping hub and features local and international stores.
Myeong-dong sells everything from clothes to cosmetics, shoes, and accessories. Most of the well-known store brand names have outlets here, so people have been flocking to this part of Seoul for years. Locals and tourists love the place for its vibrant atmosphere and fashion.
The decline of Korea’s fashion mecca
Now, as the coronavirus pandemic devastated many countries, South Korea was not spared. In fact, it was one of the first countries to have an outbreak leading, and lockdowns were put in place.
As the pandemic continues and it seems that the end is still not in sight, Myeong-dong started to suffer as people no longer visit the area. Since social distancing is mandatory, and people are asked to stay in their homes to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the shopping area lost the long lines of shoppers, food stalls, and tourists.
Myeong-dong, which is usually teeming with people from all walks of life, is mostly deserted these days. Clearly, there has been a big change in the shopping and fashion district, and it was for the worse as establishments have closed down and many have lost their jobs too.
With most people doing their shopping online to avoid being infected by COVID-19, and the government is also urging people to stay at home, stores in Myeong-dong don’t make profits anymore. Those that managed to stay open today are struggling to stay afloat, so more businesses are expected to close soon as well.
Korea Herald reported that one business owner who has been doing business in Myeong-dong for 30 years said that she had witnessed many political issues that have hurt South Korea’s economy before, but the pandemic was the worst experience.
This is because it forced many businesses to closed down. “Since last February, international tourists have disappeared,” business owner Park Jin Yi said. “It has never been worse than this before.”
Myeong-dong is the most popular shopping center in Seoul. Many tourists know this place as this was also often mentioned in Korean dramas and Kpop idols.
This shopping hub is a street filled with outlet stores. Visitors can also find restaurants, cosmetic outlets, department stores like Lotte, M Plaza, and Shinsegae Department Store. Some prices are cheap, while those from well-known brands offer higher prices for their goods.