The Korea Herald


K-pop, K-food, K-beauty, K-content top foreigner interests: survey

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Oct. 10, 2023 - 15:51

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Gyeongbokgung in Seoul is crowded with visitors on Sept. 29.(Yonhap) Gyeongbokgung in Seoul is crowded with visitors on Sept. 29.(Yonhap)

K-pop, K-food, K-beauty and K-content took the lead as the most commonly cited keywords by foreigners visiting Korea, a comprehensive data analysis conducted by the Culture Ministry and Korea Tourism Organization showed Tuesday.

The report was based on data from June 2020 to May 2023 gathered from a group of foreigners hailing from 20 countries that frequently visited Korea. The information was sourced from online platforms, social media and travel expense data including credit card usage and telecommunications services, as well as statistical survey data.

Among the notable findings were the top countries showing keen interest in each theme.

For K-pop, Indonesia and France stood out, while K-food attracted attention from the US, China and Turkey. The fascination with K-beauty was pronounced in China, the Philippines and Indonesia, while K-content was most popular in the Philippines and Indonesia.

In France, K-pop-related references tripled between 2020 and 2021, from an average of 15,170 per month in 2020 to 44,016 per month in 2021. From January to May 2023, the average monthly figure stood at 70,033. The Philippines saw a significant surge in K-pop references, and K-content mentions more than doubled during the same period.

Foreigners play Foreigners play "tuho," a traditional throwing game, during the Chuseok holiday in Bukchon Traditional Culture Center in Seoul, Sept. 29. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, a survey of foreign tourists in 2019 showed that K-pop enthusiasts tend to focus predominantly on K-pop-related activities, while K-food enthusiasts are inclined to explore various experiences including shopping, culinary tourism and appreciating natural scenery during their visits.

The data also covers cities that foreigners visiting Korea frequently explore, offering insight into popular regions.

The most popular areas, in order, were Seoul's Jung-gu, Incheon's Jung-gu, Seoul's Gangnam-gu, Mapo-gu and Jongno-gu. Jeju City on Jeju Island stood at 11th, Haeundae-gu in Busan marked 14th and Geoje in South Gyeongsang Province marked 22nd place.