South Korea’s tourism deficit hits record high in 2017

2018.02.21 16:16:01 | 2018.02.21 16:28:13

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South Korea’s tourism deficit rose to a record high of $13.7 billion last year as more Koreans opted to spend both short and long holidays abroad amid ongoing absence of Chinese visitors since last year’s row over U.S. antimissile system.

According to data from the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) on Wednesday, the country’s tourism revenue for full 2017 amounted to $13.3 billion, down 22.5 percent from a year ago, while the tourism spending grew 14.3 percent to $27.1 billion over the cited period. In result, the country recorded a tourism deficit of $13.7 billion, more than doubled from a year earlier. It was the 17th year to record a tourism deficit since 2001 and also a historic high record on a yearly basis, the government office said.

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Overseas trips have become commonplace for Koreans, while the country failed to draw tourists to make up for the loss of Chinese visitors.

The number of inbound foreign travelers last year fell 22.7 percent on year to 13,335,758 whereas that of outbound Korean travelers rose 18.4 percent to 26,496,447. The number of Chinese visitors to Korea plummeted 48.3 percent on year to 4,169,353 last year.

By Yoon Won-sup and Cho Jeehyun

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