September 15, 2014 12:28
Chinese visitors to Korea accounted for more than half of all credit card transactions by foreigners here in the first half of this year.
Credit card spending by Chinese tourists has been rising steadily, and this is the first time it surpassed half of all card purchases by foreigners. If card spending by visitors from Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan is included, plastic transactions by Chinese tourists account for more than 60 percent.
According to Shinhan Card and the Korea Culture Information Service Agency on Sunday, foreigners spent W4.83 trillion (US$1=W1,035) in Korea on their credit cards in the first half of this year, up 36.2 percent compared to the same period of 2013.
Chinese tourists accounted for W2.55 trillion of that amount or 52.8 percent. Next were tourists from Japan (16.8 percent), the U.S. (8.3 percent), Hong Kong (2.9 percent) and Taiwan (2.2 percent).
Last year, Chinese tourist made up 48.1 percent of credit card spending by foreigners.
By category, Chinese visitors spent W2.19 trillion on shopping (up 36.9 percent compared to 2013), W1.28 trillion on accommodation (up 35.5 percent) and W380 billion on food (up 52.8 percent).
Spending in these areas by visitors from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand totaled W341.3 billion, surpassing the W297.3 billion spent by Japanese tourists.
Tourist spending on plastic surgery and other medical procedures here increased W58.9 percent to W229.4 billion.
Regions with a marked increase in plastic spending by foreigners were Jeju Island (up 81.6 percent), Gyeonggi Province (up 62.5 percent) and Busan (up 51.5 percent).
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