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S. Koreans' overseas spending hits record high in 2016

All News 09:53 February 04, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans spent a new record high amount of money abroad last year on increased outbound travel despite an economic slump and sagging domestic consumption, data showed Saturday.

Expenditures on ordinary foreign trips, excluding stays for study, jumped 7.4 percent on-year to US$23.1 billion in the year, according to the Bank of Korea and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

South Korea's gross domestic product is projected to have expanded 2.7 percent in 2016 from a year earlier, with domestic spending growing 2.8 percent.

South Koreans' overseas spending has been on a constant rise from $15.5 billion in 2011 to $16.5 billion in 2012, $17.3 billion in 2013 and $19.4 billion in 2014.

The trend is attributable to an increasing number of people making overseas trips during major holidays and vacations.

South Korea's Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, is packed with travelers in this file photo. (Yonhap)

A total of 22.38 million South Koreans visited foreign nations last year, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier, according to a tally compiled by the Korea Tourism Research Institute.

"No matter how bad the economic conditions are, the people's income level has improved in general and there are various travel products leading to a rise in the number of outbound travelers," a tour agency official said. "Chances are high that the amount of overseas spending will set a new record this year."


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