The number of foreign visitors to Korea went
down for the first time in twelve years last year, due to the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory
syndrome. The Korea Tourism Organization says just over
thirteen-point-two million tourists visited Korea in 2015,… down nearly seven percent
from the previous year. The number of travelers rose about ten-percent
in the first five months, but it plunged 40 percent from June to August when concerns
over the outbreak were at their peak. MERS took the heaviest toll on the number
of Chinese tourists, which declined over two percent last year.
The number showed signs of recovery in September, and it rose five percent on-year in October
thanks to major discount events held by retailers. The number of outbound travelers rose more
than 20 percent to over 19 million in 2015, thanks to cheaper airfares by low-cost carriers
and longer-than-usual national holidays.