Number of visitor arrivals in South Korea 2000-2018

In 2018, South Korea had approximately 15.35 million inbound visitors. Visitor arrivals in South Korea have shown an overall growth since year 2000. According to the source, October was the most popular month to visit in 2018, with around 1.53 million incoming visitors in that month.

Importance of Chinese tourists

The South Korean tourism industry has a strong focus on visitors from China. Visitor arrivals from Mainland China peaked in 2016. That year, almost 47 percent of all arrivals to South Korea were originating from Mainland China. The following year, the number of Chinese tourists nearly halved due to disputes about the THAAD defense systems, causing the total number of tourists to plummet in 2017. While the industry had not fully recovered yet, the political situation calmed, and the number of tourists is on the rise again.

”Hallyu” as a reason for the popularity

Hallyu, also known as the “Korean wave”, describes the South Korean popular culture, including music, TV shows, and movies, and is one of the main reasons for the worldwide rise of the popularity of South Korea as a travel destination. While Korean popular culture, as well as Korean beauty products, are getting more recognition globally, the number of visitors grows. In 2018, the K-Pop Boyband BTS was given credit by the Seoul Metropolitan Government for boosting the tourism industry. BTS is currently considered as the biggest boy band in the world.

Number of inbound visitors to South Korea from 2000 to 2018

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Release date

July 2019


South Korea

Survey time period

2000 to 2018

Supplementary notes

The source does not provide an exact publication date. Date given here is the day of data access.

Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Travel and tourism industry in South Korea"

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