Updated November. 03, 2012 06:13
The number of foreign tourists visiting Korea will likely exceed 10 million for the year this month, said the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry and Korea Tourism Organization Friday.
The two state-run bodies said the 10 millionth foreign visitor is expected to arrive in the country around Nov. 20 to 22.
According to the tourist organization, a cumulative 8.44 million foreign tourists visited Korea through the end of September this year, up 19 percent or 1.35 million year-on-year. If this trend continues, the figure for this year is predicted to reach 11.3 million, a significant jump from last year`s 9.79 million.
A ministry source said, The surpassing of the 10 million tourist mark is a major milestone that elevates the nations tourist industry.
A monthly average of about 900,000 foreign tourists have visited the country this year due to the booming popularity of the Korean Wave phenomenon, including K-pop and dramas, and the development of more tourist products. The monthly number topped 1 million for the first time in July.
Among foreign tourists, the number of Chinese nationals increased 30 percent this year from last year, while that of Japanese rose 19.5 percent.
With the number of foreign tourists to Korea poised to hit 10 million soon, the ministry and the tourist organization have begun preparations to hold commemorative events. A ceremony will be held to welcome the 10 millionth visitor at the arrival section of Incheon International Airport, as well as additional events including celebratory concerts featuring Korean Wave stars and celebrities.