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Foreign tourists decline despite Winter Olympics

2018/03/12 15:38

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SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) -- The number of foreigners who visited South Korea in February marked a sharp decline from a year ago despite its hosting of the Winter Olympics in the alpine town of PyeongChang, data from the justice ministry showed Monday.

According to the data, 1,077,903 foreigners entered the country last month, down 16.1 percent from 1,284,241 recorded a year before.

The decline is largely attributable to the continued aftermath of retaliatory measures that Beijing took in March last year against Seoul's deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense system, called THAAD, on its soil, travel experts here said. The measures included a ban on the sale of South Korea-bound group tour packages, although it was lifted in November.

Chinese tourists numbered 367,017 last month, down 40.2 percent on-year from 614,158, the data showed.

By region, most tourists came from Asia, with 815,361 visiting last month, trailed by those from North America (93,478), Europe (81,452), Oceania (10,931), Latin America (4,334) and Africa (2,114), according to the data.

Of the top 10 nations in the medal standings of the PyeongChang Olympics, excluding South Korea, Japan had the highest number of tourists with 170,543, followed by the United States (76,796), Canada (16,682), Germany (9,705), France (7,397), the Netherlands (3,949), Switzerland (2,428), Sweden (1,928), Norway (1,803) and Austria (1,731).

An image of a dove is created during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang on Feb. 9, 2018, in this file photo. (Yonhap) An image of a dove is created during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang on Feb. 9, 2018, in this file photo. (Yonhap)

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