Tourists to S Korea's safety fears: Pickpockets, N.K., car accidents

Tourists to S Korea's safety fears: Pickpockets, N.K., car accidents
Posed photo of tourist who can be easily spotted by pickpockets and thieves easily.

The three biggest safety concerns for foreign tourists traveling to Korea were pickpockets, the North Korean threat and car accidents, according to a recent survey of foreign tourists by the Korea Tourism Organisation.

Thirty-five per cent of 704 foreign respondents said they were concerned about pickpocketing, 17 per cent said they were worried about the North Korean threat and another 17 per cent said they were concerned about accidents involving public transportation.

The answers were given before they had arrived in Korea. Concerns in all categories fell after they arrived in Korea, except for worries over possible ferry accidents, indicating the impact of the Sewol ferry sinking on safety perceptions of foreign tourists traveling in Korea.

Japanese tourists were concerned the most with safety in Korea. More than 80 per cent of foreign tourists said Korea was a safe tourist destination while only 58 per cent of Japanese said so.

Overall, 81.4 per cent of foreign tourists rated South Korea as safe. Japan was rated the safest destination, at 88.6 per cent, among countries and regions including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America.

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