Seoul was voted the favorite travel destination among Chinese, Japanese and Thai tourists for a third consecutive year. Commissioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, market researcher Nielsen Company polled 3,800 people in the three countries between last November and January this year.
Asked where they want to visit within the next 12 months, Seoul was the most popular choice among all the groups, with 19 percent of Thai respondents, 16.4 percent of Chinese and 10.6 percent of Japanese.
Chinese and Thais hoped to visit Tokyo after Seoul, while Japanese preferred Honolulu. Chinese and Japanese respondents mostly cited proximity as the reason for choosing Seoul, while Thais said that exposure to Korean TV dramas and commercials left them with a desire to visit.
"A growing number of foreigners hope to visit Seoul thanks to the rising popularity of Korean pop culture in Asia," said a spokesman for the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Some 6.81 million foreign tourists visited Seoul last year, up 12.6 percent from 6.05 million in 2009.