Number of visitor arrivals in South Korea 2000-2021
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 musical acts in the world.