From Korea with Money!

September 9, 2013

Record High of 125 Million Koreans Came

and Spent 4.1 Billion Dollars in U.S. Last Year 

By Sung Hoon Goo

The number of Korean visitors to the United States and the amount of money they spent during their stay, both climbed to all-time highs.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Travel & Tourism statistics released on September 9, a total of 1,251,000 Koreans visited America in 2012, which is an increase of 9.3% from the year before. The 2011 total was 1,145,000.

The number of Koreans visiting the U.S. topped the one million mark for the first time back in 2010 and continues to rise.

Koreans also continue to spend more money during their stay. Korean visitors are estimated to have spent over $4 billion in 2012, which represents a 10.1% increase from $3,772,000,000 spent in 2011.

The most often checked ‘Main Purpose of Trip’ category was ‘Vacation/Holiday’ at 49%, which increased 5% from 2011. The Visit friends/relatives’ column ranked second at 15%. Business came in third at 12%, followed by education at 11%. Religion was listed by only 0.3% of the Korean visitors.

It’s interesting to note that the first-time visitors made up almost half of all visitors at 43%. The average household income for Korean travelers actually dropped from $84,300 in 2011 to $82,921 in 2012.

The average age of Korean visitors also dipped to 37 for male and 34 for female. Male visitors still outnumbered females 59 to 41%, however.

Korean travelers tended to travel in small groups according to the data – an average of about two individuals per group and spending an average of eight nights in hotels. Activity-wise, Koreans spent the most time sightseeing (80%), shopping (72%), visiting national parks (27%), dining out (23%), visiting historical sites (18%), participating in water sports (17%), visiting museums (17%), and casino gaming (10%).

The U.S. Department of Commerce expects about 1.35 million Koreans to visit the U.S. this year.