It has been found that South Korea’s tourism account deficit hit a new high last year. This is because the number of inbound Chinese tourists fell in the wake of China’s THAAD retaliation and the number of outbound South Korean tourists increased to a large extent.
South Korea’s tourism revenue totaled US$13.3237 billion last year, down 22.5% from a year earlier. During the same period, its tourism expenditure rose 14.3% to US$27.0729 billion. As a result, the tourism account deficit reached US$13.7492 billion, up 111.9% from a year ago. The country’s tourism account deficit continued for 17 years in a row.
In 2017, 13,335,758 foreigners visited South Korea, down 22.7% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, a total of 26,496,447 South Koreans went abroad during the period, up 18.4%.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization, a decrease in the number of inbound Chinese tourists led the 22.7% decline. Specifically, the number, 4,169,353, fell 48.3% compared to the previous year. From March to December 2016, the number had been close to seven million. However, it was slightly over three million from March to December 2017, when the Chinese government’s ban on group tours to South Korea was in effect.
Overseas Card Payments Exceeded $17 Billion in 2017
Last year, South Koreans’ overseas credit and debit card payments increased 19.7% year on year and exceeded 19 trillion won to reach a new high. On the other hand, non-residents’ credit and debit card payments in South Korea sharply declined with less foreigners visiting the country.
According to the Bank of Korea, the former payments totaled US$17.11 billion last year, up 19.7% year on year as mentioned above. The amount showed a double-digit increase in three years. It had jumped by 15.7% in 2014.
The latter payments reached US$8.521 billion, down 20.4% from a year ago. The number of cards fell 36.7% to 34.21 million, too. Still, the payment per card increased 25.8% to US$249.