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Foreign tourist per capita spending tops record $901.2 this year: poll

Foreign tourists on average spent a record $901.2 on shopping when visiting South Korea this year, a poll conducted by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute (KCTI) showed Thursday.

The institute said its findings are based on surveys carried out on 9,062 visitors in the January-September period.

The per capita spending easily exceeds the $774.5 spent for the whole of last year.

The public think tanks said spending by Chinese tourists contributed to the spike in sales. Thanks to more tourism-related infrastructure and the ease of getting entry visas, the number of Chinese visitors coming to South Korea is expected to top 6 million this year, up 38.6 percent from 2013. In effect one out of every two foreign visitors are from China.

The KCTI said cosmetics, clothing and food were the top three items purchased by tourists.

The poll that allowed multiple answers showed 59.9 percent of respondents said they bought perfume and cosmetics. This represents a 10.3 percentage point rise from last year.

This was followed by clothing at 45.1 percent and foodstuff at 37.3 percent.

 On the other hand, sales of jewelry and accessories and medicine declined.

The latest report showed that each tourist spent some $1,588.7 overall while in the country. This includes money spent on lodgings and food.

The KCTI said expenditures on accommodations and food dropped because visitors spent an average of 6.1 days in the country, down from 6.9 days last year.

In regards to why foreigns visited the country, business trips fell to 19.6 percent from 23.3 percent, while leisure jumped to 57.9 percent from 47.7 percent.

People who said they were visiting friends and relatives fell to 6.6 percent from 10.2 percent.

The latest findings also showed that individual tours rose to 68.7 percent of the total in 2014 from 64.4 percent last year, with group tours falling to 24.4 percent from 29.5 percent. (Yonhap)

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