Korea Falls Further Behind Japan in Foreign Tourism

      December 18, 2015 12:32

      The gap in the number of foreign visitors between Korea and Japan has widened to 5.8 million this year as the yen remains weak.

      The Korea Tourism Organization said Thursday that some 12.2 million foreigners visited Korea from January until November this year, down more than seven percent on-year.

      But Japan saw 18 million visitors over the same period, up 50 percent from last year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

      Tourists walk in the shopping district of Myeong-dong in Seoul on Thursday.

      The gap between the two countries was the widest since statistics were first compiled. Korea overtook Japan by 1 million in 2009, and the gap widened further to 3.5 million in 2011.

      But now Korea has been roundly trounced while Japan targets 20 million foreign tourists by 2020.

      Korea was aiming for 15.5 million visitors this year, but that now seems unattainable.

      "The numbers will end up at the same level as last year's 14.2 million as many Chinese and Southeast Asians are traveling to Japan because of the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome here and the weak yen," a KTO official said.

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