Foreign tourists spent quite generously in South Korea last year as a weaker Korean currency eased their burden of visiting Asia’s fourth-largest economy, central bank data showed Saturday.
Foreigners’ travel spending in South Korea reached a record USD9.02 billion in 2008, up from USD6.09 billion the previous year, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The 2008 figure is the highest since 1980 when BOK began compiling related data.
“The won sharply lost ground to the dollar last year while the Japanese currency gained strength.
More Japanese people visited Korea last year,” said an official at State-run Korea Tourism Organization.
The green buck serves as benchmark for the won-yen cross rate.
Korea’s won fell 25.7 percent against the U.S. dollar last year, becoming one of the world’s worst-performing currencies.
Meanwhile, South Koreans’ spending on overseas travel sharply declined due to a weaker won and the economic slump.
Their spending amounted to .6 billion in 2008, down 25.4 percent from the previous year, according to the bank’s data.