Korea posted record tourism revenue last year, thanks to the popularity of hallyu, or the Korean Wave, and aggressive marketing, according to the Bank of Korea.
The country’s inbound tourism brought in more than $14.2 billion in 2012, up 13.6 percent from $12.5 billion a year earlier.
This means that the tourism sector was earning more than $1 billion monthly for the first time.
The record high earning has contributed to decreasing the travel account deficit to some $5.9 billion last year, from $7.4 billion in 2011.
This is in part attributable to a growing number of Chinese visitors that accounted for a large share of the record high 10 million tourists to Korea last year, analysts said.
The government has been attracting tourists from China, Japan and Southeast Asia through promoting “Visit Korea” since 2010, and with Korean dramas and songs that rekindled the Korean Wave across Asia.
This led the country see its tourism income surpass the 10-billion mark for the first time in 2010.
With the travel account deficit reduction and increased transportation transactions, Korea’s services account in the balance of payments swung into black for the first time in 14 years.
The country achieved a services account surplus of $2.68 billion last year from a deficit of $5.85 billion in 2011.
By Park Hyong-ki (firstname.lastname@example.org