Tourist Spending in South Korea Drops First Time in 6 Years

kpride, May 29, 2015, 10:21 a.m.

The average amount of money spent by tourists in Korea has fallen for the first time since 2008, and the average duration of their stay is also dwindling. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Thursday published data which show that average spending per tourist shrank by US$42 from 2013 to $1,606 last year.

Industry watchers believe the global recession has prompted tourists to tighten their purse strings. Choi Yong at Lotte Department Store's luxury Avenuel outlet said, "Until the first half of last year, Chinese customers often bought expensive products without even asking the price. But these days they carefully check the price tags and compare them to other department stores." 

A growing number of cost-conscious tourists has led to purchases at high-end department stores shrinking from 26 percent of their spending to 22 percent, while low-priced products increased from 12.5 percent to 21 percent. The average period tourists spent in Korea in 2011 was 7.5 days, but last year that shrank to 6.1 days. 

Lee Hoon, a tourism professor at Hanyang University said, "Fewer tourists will visit Korea to buy luxury goods, and more will come here to visit provincial sightseeing spots. We need to come up with infrastructure and other measures to meet these changing trends." 

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