South Korea has welcomed more than nine million foreign visitors in 2011, hitting a new record after breaking previous records in 2010 with eight million tourists travelling to the country.
The South Korean tourism agency announced that the nine million mark was reached on December 1, indicating the country’s steady rise to prominence in the tourism market since first welcoming one million guests back in 1978. Records had previously been broken in 2009, with seven million tourists welcomed during that year and eight million in 2010.
The global economic crisis does not seem to be affecting the East Asian destination’s tourism industry, with the country reporting double-digit growth figures since June, compared with figures for 2010. The South Korean Government has helped facilitate the tourism growth by promoting initiatives aimed at boosting the appeal of the country to incoming visitors, including winter break promotions, ski holidays, shopping trips and regional schemes. The national tourism board said that if the country manages to attract over ten million visitors by the end of 2011 then it will have reached the beginning of a “new era” for the nation in terms of international travel to South Korea.
The country recently received a significant boost after Jeju Island was named as one of the world’s ‘New Seven Wonders’. The volcanic island lies 130km off the southern coast of Korea, and contains the tallest mountain in the country, rising 1,950m above sea level.