The trade deficit in Korea’s tourism industry rose to a record high level in the first eight months of this year, data showed on Nov. 20.
The country’s tourism-related income came to US$8.85 billion in the January-August period, down 23.6 percent from the same months a year earlier, according to the data provided by the Korea Tourism Organization.
Koreans, meanwhile, spent US$17.5 billion abroad during the cited period, up 14.7 percent from the previous year, the data showed.
The tourism deficit came to US$8.67 billion during the eight months, and some industry watchers forecast the figure to exceed US$13 billion at the end of this year.
The imbalance in the tourism account is largely attributable to the Chinese government’s ban on selling Korea-bound tour programs, which took effect in mid-March, among a string of other retaliatory measures put forward by Beijing against Korean companies and their goods over Seoul’s deployment of THAAD system.
The number of foreigners who visited Korea from January to August came to 8.86 million, down 22.8 percent on-year, amid a sharp decline in the number of Chinese visitors.
By Alex Lee and newswires (email@example.com