SEOUL, July 7 (Korea Bizwire) — Foreign tourists to South Korea stayed shorter and spent less money in 2019 than the previous year, a government survey showed Tuesday.
International tourists stayed an average 6.7 days in South Korea last year, down 0.5 from the previous year, according to the survey of 16,000 tourist arrivals taken by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the state-run Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).
The fall contrasts with the prior year’s slight gain. Foreign tourists’ average stay increased to 7.2 days in 2018 from 7 days a year earlier.
Per-capita spending by foreign tourists came to US$1,239 in 2019, down 7.7 percent from $1,342 the previous year.
Foreign visitors’ spending had been on the decline, with the amount shrinking to $1,482 in 2017 from $1,625 in 2016 and $1,713 in 2015.
Tourists from the Middle East were the biggest spenders with $1,697, followed by visitors from India and China with $1,633 and Mongolian travelers with $1,616. Japanese tourists were the smallest spender with $759.
Shopping was foreign tourists’ top activity in South Korea, trailed by epicurism, appreciation of natural scenery, visits to old palaces and historic sites, and traditional cultural experiences.
Foreign tourists’ favored shopping destination was shops in Myeongdong in central Seoul, followed by airport duty-free shops, inner-city duty-free shops and Dongdaemun Market.
Slightly over 93 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with their trips to South Korea, with nearly 92 percent most content with the country’s good public order, according to the survey.