July 24, 2024

The tourism industry of South Korea is predicted to reach new heights this year, with a $69.3 billion (₩96.2TN) contribution to its national economy, marking an increase of 13.6 percent year-on-year.

The latest report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) revealed that employment within the tourism sector will also follow this positive trajectory as it is forecasted to surpass 1.4 million in 2024, VisaGuide.World reports.

International & Domestic Spendings in South Korea to Hit 2019 Levels This Year

At the same time, the expenditures of both sides, such as international visitors and domestic visitors, are expected to reach 2019 levels. As a result, domestic visitors are about to achieve nearly $23.6 billion (₩31.9TN), up 31.2 percent from last year, while international ones are set to rise to over $25.6 billion (₩35.5TN), reflecting a 7.2 percent increase from 2019 levels and a three percent growth compared to 2023.

The impressive growth of South Korea’s Travel and Tourism sector underscores the government’s outstanding commitment to prioritizing tourism as a key driver of economic development. This dedication not only boosts economic growth but also enhances South Korea’s profile as a premier destination for travellers worldwide.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO

Last year, a resurgence in South Korea’s travel and tourism sector was also seen as a contribution to the country’s economy, employment, and tourism spending.

Based on the WTTC report, the sector saw an increase of 18.2 percent to reach $61.1 billion (₩84.71 TN), representing 3.8 percent of the country’s total economic output. Such an increase was a significant rebound, although it remained 6.3 percent below 2019 levels.

During this period, 76.600 new jobs were created, bringing the total employment to 1.34 million, which represents an increase of 6.1 percent. International and domestic spending also increased by $17.5 billion (₩24.3 TN) and $24.8 billion (₩34.45 TN), respectively.

The WTTC forecast 2034 also shows that the South Korean sector will increase its annual GDP contribution to 130.9 TN, which constitutes nearly five percent of the national economy.

The same authority said that employment in this sector is also expected to exceed 1.8 million jobs, and support 6.8 percent of all jobs in the country.

South Korea’s Tourism Export Innovation Strategy Aims to Attract 20 Million Foreign Tourists in 2024

South Korea has recently unveiled a program as part of the 2023–2024 Visit Korea initiative, which includes expanding the group e-visa fee waiver, increasing the limits for immediate tax refunds on duty-free purchases, and improving transportation booking services and payment methods.

The “South Korea Tourism Export Innovation Strategy” focuses on attracting 20 million foreign tourists and achieving $24.5 billion (₩32.3 billion) in tourism revenue by 2024, emphasizing enhancing tourism amenities, promoting regional tourism and promoting innovation in the industry.


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