One out of 3 three tourists visiting the capital of South Korea is Chinese, with the proportion gradually increasing over the years, a public think tank reported Tuesday.
According the Seoul Institute, Chinese nationals accounted for about 36 per cent of all tourists to the capital in 2013, followed by Japanese with 24.2 per cent. This is the first time that the number of Chinese visitors surpassed that of Japanese.
Travelers from the US and Taiwan took the third and fourth spots with 6.5 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively, the report said.
The institute also noted that the number of overall expat tourists has gradually increased over years, with an average annual increase of 12.9 per cent. Last year, the figure reached 1.15 million.
In terms of tourist destinations, the Myeong-dong shopping district attracted the most tourists with about 73 per cent visiting, followed by Dongdaemun market and the National Palace, with 56.6 per cent and 39.1 per cent, respectively.
More than half of shopping tourists went to Myeong-dong. Others shopped at local duty-free shops, Dongdaemun market and department stores, the institute said.
Preferred shopping areas differed depending on nationality, it added.
While the majority of Japanese tourists preferred to visit Myeong-dong for shopping, Chinese visitors chose duty-free shops. Nearly half of Arabic shoppers preferred Dongdaemun market whereas American, Canadian and Russian travelers picked department stores.
On the other hand, Australian, English and German tourists went shopping the least, with around 30 per cent from each country saying they did not visit the shopping districts.
Meanwhile, neighborhoods around Hongdae, Coex and Gangnam Station saw a gradual rise in the number of foreign visitors, the report added.