SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of foreigners who arrived in South Korea jumped 15 percent in 2018 from a year earlier due to a base effect after visits by Chinese tourists plunged in 2017, the local tourism promotion agency in Seoul said Wednesday.
A total of 15.34 million foreigners visited South Korea last year, according to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).
The number of Chinese tourists shot up 14.9 percent to 4.78 million, accounting for 31.2 percent of the total, which marks a 14.9 percentage-point rise from the previous year.
In March 2017, China banned group tours to South Korea in retaliation for Seoul’s deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system. The ban was partially lifted later.
The number of visitors from Japan rose a sharp 27.6 percent to 2.94 million, the KTO said.
A total of 1.11 million Taiwanese visited South Korea last year, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier as well.
In December alone, 1.32 million foreigners visited Asia’s fourth-largest economy, up 16.8 percent on-year, the data showed.
Meanwhile, the number of outbound South Korean tourists came to 28.69 million last year, an increase of 8.3 percent from a year ago, it said.