SEOUL, Feb.12 (Korea Bizwire) – When traveling in foreign countries, seeing famous tourist attractions, taking in a different culture, and trying the local cuisine are some of the more typical experiences. However, shopping might be one of the most pleasurable activities; allowing tourists to actually bring a piece of the country being visited back home.
The average travel expenses per foreign visitor to Korea were tallied to be $2,100, with around half devoted to shopping.
Surprisingly, the most popular products for tourists visiting Korea were not cosmetics or clothing. Korean ramen noodles and snacks actually topped the list in terms of popularity among foreign visitors.
When Lotte Mart analyzed purchases made by Chinese tourists at its Seoul Station store, the data showed that sales of instant ramen noodles and almonds ranked first and second.
For Japanese tourists, ‘Market O Real Brownies’ were in high demand.
Officials say this phenomenon results from the popularity of Korean television shows, and the sharing of information through SNS.
Lotte Mart employees commented that Chinese tourists bring pictures of products seen on Korean television, and ask them where they are located in the store. Visitors post pictures of products purchased in Korea on their SNS accounts, which helps them to go viral.
The current situation is similar to the ‘Chicken and Beer’ craze that occurred in China after the Korean Drama ‘Love from Another Star’ aired and quickly became a mega-hit.
According to a poll that was conducted by the Korean Culture Ministry and the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange in October with the participation of 6,500 respondents from 14 foreign nations, Korean food was chosen as the most popular cultural content of Korea with a 46.2 percent approval rating. It was followed by K-pop (39 percent), and fashion and beauty (35.8 percent).
As if to confirm the results of the survey, in addition to ramen noodles and snacks, dried laver (seaweed) is also becoming popular among tourists from both Asian and western countries.
Another item popular among foreigners was plastic gloves, which are often used for cooking. Korean plastic gloves are said to be strong and do not tear easily compared to similar products made in other countries, making them a must buy item among tourists.
Soju, makgeolli, energy drinks, instant coffee mixes and sanitary napkins were also popular items on the shopping lists of foreigners visiting Korea.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)