SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of foreigners who visited South Korea in the first 10 months of this year jumped 33.1 percent from a year ago, breaking the previous record high in 2014, the state-run tourism agency said Monday.
A total of 14.59 million foreigners visited the nation in the January-October period, already outnumbering the annual record of 14.2 million in 2014, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) said.
The number of incoming Chinese soared 40 percent on-year over the period to account for 48 percent of the total, driven by a surge in independent travelers.
The number of visitors from Southeast Asian nations showed rapid growth, and the number of those from North America and Europe continued to grow this year as well, it noted.
The KTO said the accumulated number of foreign visitors surpassed 15 million by mid-November, expecting to see the number soar beyond the annual goal of 16.5 million this year.
Taking note of the heavy dependence on Chinese travelers, the tourism agency said it will step up efforts to diversify the tourism market with customized programs for long-distance travelers.
“We will expand the inbound travel market by developing customized programs for travelers from the Middle East and the Americas to continue the growth next year,” Ahn Deok-soo, a tourism policy director at KTO, said.