Foreign tourists are spending less when they visit South Korea,… and the figure has decreased so much that it's now at a level which was last seen a decade ago.
According to data by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization on Tuesday,
foreign tourists spent an average of 1,2-hundred-68 U.S. dollars per trip in the first quarter of this year.
That's down 12.1 percent from some 1,4-hundred U.S. dollars a year ago,… marking the fourth quarterly decrease in a row.
Spending by tourists had been rising steadily up to 2015 when it reached a peak of over 1,7-hundred dollars per person.
Industry insiders say the falling numbers are due to Beijing's ban on Chinese group tours to South Korea following Seoul's deployment of a U.S. missile defense system.
Diplomatic tensions with China led to that figure falling from 2016 as the number of Chinese tour groups, who tend to spend more than individual tourists, decreased significantly.
The data also showed that Chinese tourists were the nationality who spent the most per person in South Korea in the first quarter, spending an average of some 1,7-hundred U.S. dollars,… followed by Taiwanese and Americans with some 1,1-hundred dollars.
The average length of stay by foreign tourists came to 6.9 days in the first quarter, down slightly from seven days a year earlier, but the level of satisfaction shown by foreign tourists who visited Korea came to 93.9 percent, up slightly from 93.7 percent a year ago.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.