The Korea Herald


Japan tops list of tourists to Korea in May: report

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : June 30, 2023 - 17:38

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Passengers stand in check-in lines at Incheon Airport on May 22. (Yonhap) Passengers stand in check-in lines at Incheon Airport on May 22. (Yonhap)

Visitors from Japan accounted for the largest portion of international visitors to Korea in May, according to statistics released by the Korea Tourism Organization on Thursday.

In May, the number of foreign tourists visiting Korea soared to 867,130, a 398.6 percent rise compared to the same period last year, when the figure stood at 173,902.

Japan emerged as the top country in terms of tourist arrivals to Korea, with 183,691 visitors to the country, an increase of 4863.3 percent from the previous year.

The tourism agency attributed the surge in visitors to increased air travel options and the holiday period in Japan known as "Golden Week," that stretched from April 28 to May 7 this year.

Following Japan, China was the next-highest contributor to inbound tourists here, with an increase of 1,039 percent from last year, resulting in 128,171 visitors.

Visitors from the US numbered 101,915, followed by Taiwan with 66,654 and Thailand with 31,597.

Hong Kong showed the biggest fluctuation in inbound tourists in comparison to the previous year, with a staggering increase of 9221.5 percent, amounting to 28,617 visitors. Hong Kong lifted its strict COVID-19 entry ban on non-resident visitors in May 2022, while South Korea lifted its restrictions on travelers from Hong Kong in March 2023.

The Americas and Europe showed a 169.6 percent increase in tourist arrivals to Korea compared to the same month a year earlier, due to holidays observed in major countries such as Canada, Germany and France, as well as tourism campaigns and the introduction of new airlines.

Meanwhile, May saw a substantial surge in the number of outbound travelers. Compared to the same period the previous year, there was a significant increase of 432.7 percent, resulting in a total of 1,683,022 outbound travelers, KTO reported.