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Seoul's tourism deficit hits record $10b PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 February 2008

Asia News Network . Seoul

South Korea's tourism deficit hit a record high of $10.1 billion in 2007, as spending by Koreans traveling overseas exceeded the expenditure of foreigners who visited the nation last year, industry data showed Tuesday.

According to the data from the Korea Tourism Organisation, spending by Korean travelers overseas amounted to $15.8 billion, whereas foreign visitors here spent a total of $5.7 billion.

The overseas expenditure by Koreans increased 18 per cent as of late last year, from 8.2 billion a year earlier, the data showed. Industry watchers attributed this surge in the tourism deficit to the growing trend among Koreans of spending holidays overseas. However, the gain in Korean tourism has decreased by 0.2 per cent.

The gap between the income and expenditure for tourism was not this dramatic until 2004, when the deficit was hovering around $3.8 billion.

However, the deficit has been continuously increasing, resulting in the tourism expenditure becoming 2.8 times more than tourism income last year. The number of incoming visitors to Korea grew by 4.8 per cent, while the number of outgoing Korean tourists increased by 15.7 per cent, making the situation worse.

A total of over 13 million Koreans traveled to foreign countries in 2007. Also, the data showed that Koreans spent an average of $1,192 abroad, indicating that they spent more abroad than the foreigners who spent an average of $892 in Korea.

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