It’s no secret that South Korea’s rich history and quirky culture have quickly captivated the hearts of millions across the globe. Though more widely known today as the land of oppas and holy grail skin care products, this East Asian region is home to a number of well-preserved attractions and traditions that proudly tell the tale of how South Korea came to be.

Through age-old structures like the majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace located at the heart of Seoul, or must-see destinations like Nami Island, and even through a delicious Korean BBQ meal, South Korea constantly offers the opportunity for travelers not only to learn about its ever-evolving customs but to partake in them too.

Best time to visit South Korea

The best time to visit South Korea is between March and May if you want to see the vibrant pink of the cherry blossoms in bloom. If you want to see the landscapes come alive as the leaves change in the cooler weathers, then we’d recommend visiting between September and November.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, S. Korea was recording a new peak in the number of visitors to the country. Prior to the pandemic, the country’s tourism industry was constantly growing and highly benefitting from Hallyu. The term translates to a Korean Wave and describes the popularity of South Korean cultural products outside of its borders.

Who travels to South Korea?

Most of the tourists travelling to South Korea were in their twenties. A significant part of tourists were from China, although the number of Chinese tourists had plummeted in 2017 due to bilateral political tensions. In 2019, South Korea’s tourism industry took another hit after political tensions with Japan. While the industry was growing nonetheless, the global outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 delivered a devastating hit on the overall tourism industry.

How did the South Korean tourism industry respond to COVID-19?

Amidst the difficult framework of the pandemic, the Korean Tourism Organization began to switch their strategy towards online marketing. In cooperation with Netflix, they launched an advertising campaign that highlighted South Korean content on the streaming platform, offering users the opportunity to explore South Korea via streaming content. This pre-emptive campaign builds upon an important aspect of the South Korean tourism industry: Hallyu tourism. The organization found that a portion of incoming tourists from all over the world was travelling to South Korea to experience Hallyu at its origin. Additionally, the prevalence of Hallyu helped to improve the country’s image, attracting even more tourists to choose South Korea as their next tourist destination.

How much money do tourists spend in South Korea?

Another leading reason to travel to South Korea was for shopping. In 2019, the average tourist spent around 600 U.S. dollars on shopping per trip. Before the pandemic, the average expenditure per capita was around 1.23 thousand U.S. dollars, adding up to total tourist receipts in excess of 20 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. Visitors to S. Korea spent varying amounts of money per day during their stay, with Chinese tourists leading the pack by some margin.

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