Who travels to South Korea?
In 2019, most tourists were in their twenties, and most travelled from Mainland China. In 2016, tourists from Mainland China made up around 46.8 percent. They still play an important part today, the number of Chinese tourists plummeted in 2017 due to bilateral political tensions. In 2019, South Korea’s tourism industry took another hit after political tensions with Japan. While tourism in South Korea was growing nonetheless, the global COVID-19 crisis in 2020 took a hit on the overall industry.
While the crisis is still ongoing, the Korean Tourism Organization is switching their strategy to online marketing. In a cooperation with Netflix, they launched a campaign highlighting South Korean content on the platform, offering users to explore South Korea with streaming content. This pre-emptive campaign builds upon an important aspect of the industry: Hallyu tourism. The organization found that around 12.7 percent of tourists explicitly state that Hallyu experiences are among their main reasons to travel to South Korea in 2019, especially for tourists from Indonesia, Philippines, and Japan. Additionally, Hallyu helped to improve the country’s image, causing even more tourists to choose South Korea as a tourist destination.
Another main reason to travel to South Korea was shopping. In 2019, the average tourist spent around 600 U.S. dollars on shopping per trip. In total, the average expenditure per capita was at around 1.23 thousand U.S. dollars, adding up to total tourist receipts of around 21.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. That year, visitors spent around 245 U.S. dollars per person per day, while visitors from China spent the highest amount per day.