Spending abroad hits record 8.21 trillion won

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Spending abroad hits record 8.21 trillion won

Korean spending overseas reached an all-time high last quarter, as many traveled abroad for summer vacation and during the extended Chuseok holidays.

Overseas expenditures by Koreans hit 8.21 trillion won in the third quarter, according to the Bank of Korea. This is the first time that Koreans have spent more than 8 trillion won. The last was a year ago when overseas spending reached 7 trillion won. The third-quarter spending is an increase of 16.8 percent, or 1.1 trillion won, compared to a year ago.

The overseas spending even exceeded that of the second quarter; up 23.4 percent or 1.56 million won more.

The new-record spending is largely contributed by increase of Koreans traveling abroad.

A study by the Korea Tourism and Culture Institute showed that in the third quarter, an estimated 6.05 million people traveled abroad, a 19.4 percent increase compared to 5.07 million in the second quarter.

“Because of the aggressive marketing and the increase of travel routes by low-budget carriers and the extended Chuseok holidays this year, people traveling abroad in the third quarter have gone up,” said an official at the Korea Tourism Organization.

Most Korean had five days off during the Chuseok holidays. Although the official holiday only lasted for three days, from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, many extended their holidays for another two days by adding the weekends. Some even took a leave from work and extended their holiday break to nine days.

Overseas spending now accounts for 4.3 percent of the 191.8 trillion won in spending made by Koreans in the third quarter.

This is also the first time that overseas spending has amounted to more than 4 percent of the overall spending.

However, as Koreans are opening up their wallets overseas, foreign tourists visiting Korea have been decreasing their spending during their trips.

Spending by foreigners in Korea in the third quarter amounted to 3.9 trillion won. This is a 23.7 percent increase when compared to a year ago when spending was 3.1 trillion won. However, this was largely because last year spending by foreigners dropped significantly as the number of visitors dropped due to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome scare that swept the country.

When compared to the second quarter, spending by foreigners has fallen 14.4 percent from 4.56 trillion won.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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