SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, August 9, 2018 — The number of international tourists who visited Korea during the first half of 2018 has increased by 7.22 million, or 6.92 percent, from the same period of last year. It is the result of the survey conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government about international tourists.
According to the survey, the percentage of foreign tourists who re-visited Seoul amounted by 6.1 percent from the previous year (42.5% in 2017 to 48.6% in 2018), and nearly 90 percent of foreign tourists answered they want to visit Seoul again (89% in 2017).
The average duration of stay increased by 0.12 days to 5.34 days from 5.22 days in 2017, and their satisfaction level was also up by 0.1 point (4.16 points in 2017 to 4.26 points in 2018.)
In an effort to figure out why international tourists visit Seoul, how they spend their time, what they buy, what they prefer, and other tourism-related facts, the Seoul Metropolitan Government conducted this survey every month in cooperation with the Seoul Tourism Foundation. Each time an average of 500 foreign tourists who arrived in Seoul participated in the survey. For the survey for the first half of 2018, a total of 3,000 tourists replied in a face-to-face interview.
55.3 percent of the respondents answered they visited Seoul for leisure or vacation, and stayed for an average of 5.66 days. 83.8 percent visited Myeongdong, one of the representative shopping districts in the city, spending their time in shopping (92.1%) and eating (78.9%).
The main shopping destinations were still duty-free shops located in downtown Seoul (50.1% in 2017 to 57% in 2018), however visiting traditional markets were also growing (41.6% in 2017 to 50.5% in 2018). They mainly purchased cosmetics (68.1%), clothing (55.1%) and groceries (39%).
94.3 percent of the respondents replied they have experienced Korean food, 64.5 percent tried street food, and 49.6 percent used cafés or coffee shops. When asked what factors are the most important to choose a restaurant, 83.5 percent answered that the taste of food is the most important, 39.5 percent said the price of the menus and 28 percent said its variety.
They more used the Internet through mobile devices (57.9%) than the Internet on the desktops (53.5%) to get needed information on Seoul tourism, and 84.3 percent refered to portal sites and 36.5 percent used social media pages, such as Facebook, instagram and WeChat.
In terms of accommodation, 68.9 percent said that they stayed at hotels, and 8.6 percent used guesthouses. 43.9 percent made a reservation for their accommodations and flights through booking websites, such as SkyScanner and Buking.com, and 29.2 percent used travel agencies.
59.1 percent of foreign visitors used the subway, and 27.2 percent used a taxi. Many of them bought and used prepaid transportation cards and spent an average of 32,000 won for transportation expenses during their visit to Seoul.