Worlddata.info
Tourism in South Korea

Tourism in South Korea

South Korea recorded a total of 18 m tourists in 2019, ranking 30th in the world in absolute terms.

Without including the size of a country, such a ranking list may not be very meaningful. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of South Korea, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.34 tourists per resident, South Korea ranked 117th in the world. In East Asia, it ranked 3rd.

South Korea generated around 26.22 bn US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 1.6 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 18 percent of all international tourism receipts in East Asia.

A global comparison can be found here › International tourism


Back to overview: South Korea


The most popular cities in South Korea for international travelers are Seoul and Jeju. In 2018, Seoul ranked 24th among the world's most popular cities with 8.43 m tourists. Jeju was in 95th place with 2.35 m tourists.

Tourism in South KoreaOn average, each of the tourists arriving in 2019 spent about 1,338 US Dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of South Korea spend only around 1,084 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Development of the tourism sector in South Korea from 1995 to 2019

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in South Korea each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 6 countries in East Asia.

Tourists per year in South Korea

Revenues in tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 6.67 bn USD, or about 1.2 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 3.75 m tourists at that time and roughly 1,777 USD per person. Within 24 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 26.22 bn USD, accounting for 1.6 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 1,498 USD for his holiday in South Korea.

Tourism receipts in South Korea per year

All data for South Korea in detail

YearNumberof touristsReceipts% of GNPIncome per tourist
201917.50 m26.22 bn $1.6 %1,498 $
201815.35 m23.10 bn $1.3 %1,505 $
201713.34 m17.17 bn $1.1 %1,288 $
201617.24 m20.92 bn $1.4 %1,214 $
201513.23 m18.71 bn $1.3 %1,414 $
201414.20 m22.39 bn $1.5 %1,577 $
201312.18 m19.46 bn $1.4 %1,598 $
201211.14 m18.73 bn $1.5 %1,681 $
20119.80 m17.33 bn $1.4 %1,769 $
20108.80 m14.32 bn $1.3 %1,627 $
20097.82 m13.29 bn $1.5 %1,700 $
20086.89 m13.46 bn $1.3 %1,953 $
20076.45 m9.27 bn $0.83 %1,437 $
20066.16 m8.45 bn $0.83 %1,372 $
20056.02 m8.29 bn $0.92 %1,376 $
20045.82 m8.23 bn $1.1 %1,414 $
20034.75 m7.01 bn $1.0 %1,474 $
20025.35 m7.62 bn $1.3 %1,425 $
20015.15 m7.92 bn $1.5 %1,539 $
20005.32 m8.53 bn $1.5 %1,602 $
19994.66 m8.34 bn $1.7 %1,789 $
19984.25 m8.26 bn $2.2 %1,944 $
19973.91 m6.32 bn $1.1 %1,616 $
19963.68 m6.35 bn $1.1 %1,724 $
19953.75 m6.67 bn $1.2 %1,777 $


All data correspond to the information of the World Tourism Organization.

Comparison: quality of lifeQuality of lifeCompare the quality of life around the globe: In which countries is life pleasant, safe and healthy?
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Beijing and Delhi
The daily quizThe Worlddata QuizTest your knowledge: 10 new questions every day about geography, demography and economics