South Korea

Number of foreign tourists to South Korea hits record 14.5 million

The percentage of Chinese tourists reach as high as 48 per cent, while Japanese tourist percentage increased by 26 per cent from 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 3:57pm

By Lee Jin-a

The number of foreigners who visited Korea surpassed 14.5 million as of October, breaking the previous record high in 2014, government data showed Monday.

According to the Korea Tourism Organization, 14.59 million foreigners visited the country from January to October this year, up 33 per cent from the annual record of 14.2 million.

The number of Chinese tourists rose 40 per cent on-year due to a growing number of individual tourists. Japanese tourists increased by 26 per cent from last year, after the shock of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak had waned.

American and European travellers increased by 14.2 per cent and 17.2 per cent respectively.

The tourism agency said the number of foreign visitors reached 15 million as of mid-November and that it expected the number would top 17 million at the end of this year.

Considering the high percentage of Chinese tourists — 48 per cent — the organisation said it would make more efforts to diversify the tourism market with customised programmes.

The agency plans to develop a programme that helps Muslim tourists find halal restaurants more easily across the country.

”We will expand the inbound travel market by developing customised programmes for travellers from the Middle East and the Americas to continue this year’s growth next year,” said a KTO policy director, Ahn Deok-soo.