More than half of foreign visitors made repeat trips to S. Korea in 2017

The number of foreign tourists visiting South
Korea took a nosedive last year , mainly due to China’s ban the sale of group tour packages…
part of its retaliation against Seoul over a defense upgrade Beijing perceives as a national
security threat. Fortunately,… the worst seems to be over
now. We’re also learning the majority of first-time
visitors to South Korea love the country so much that they keep coming back for more. Kan Hyeong-woo reports. The number of foreign visitors to South Korea
fell by more than one million in 2017 compared to the previous year. But according to a survey by the Korea Tourism
Organization, one out of every two foreigners who visited South Korea in 2017 had visited
the country at least once before. This marks the first time in 12 years that
the return rate of foreign tourists has exceeded 50 percent. The average number of visits by international
visitors to South Korea in 2017 was four-point-one… a 13 percent increase from the previous year. “Last year, I’ve been here once and this is
my second time” “Many of the tourists who make repeat trips
to South Korea come here for shopping, with Myeongdong being one of the main attractions.” The survey shows that Myeongdong was the most
visited site by international tourists in Seoul and “Shopping” was the most popular
activity with 72.5 percent of tourists surveyed choosing it as one of their favorite activities. “So I’ll probably do a little bit of shopping
and find a souvenir or two for my family to take home” “Yeah. It’s a good place because we can find everything
in the street and the stores are open late at night so it’s great for us.” But experts say the lower total number of
tourists could be behind the high proportion of return visitors. “Last year, if we are calculating proportions,
the decreasing number of group tours naturally led to the increased revisiting rate because
group tours are usually for first-timers. As the total number of foreign tourists went
down, the ‘return rate’ may not mean much.” And if the number of group tourists increases
in 2018, the return rate may go back down. So experts say it is better to focus on the
long term rather than on the annual figures. Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News

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