South Korea’s deficit in the tourism balance continues to widen.
Bank of Korea data released on Saturday showed regular tourism revenue spent by foreigners in South Korea posted 918 million dollars in May. South Koreans spent over two billion dollars during their business trips or travels overseas in the same month.
The resulting tourism deficit is tallied at nearly one-point-18 billion dollars, which is roughly one-point-three trillion won based on the won-dollar exchange rate in May.
The tourism balance does not include expenses related to overseas studies.
South Korea has been running a deficit in the tourism balance since December 2014 and the May figure is an all-time high.
The previous record deficit of one-point-12 billion dollars was recorded in July 2015, during the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The travel deficit has surpassed the billion dollar mark for the third straight month since March.
The record high monthly deficit is being attributed to more South Koreans traveling overseas and China’s retaliatory measures over Seoul’s deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization, over two million South Koreans went abroad in May, up 21 percent year-on-year, while some 977-thousand foreign visitors came to Korea, down 34 percent.
The number of Chinese tourists fell 64 percent on-year to around 705-thousand while Japanese travelers also dwindled by eleven percent to 178-thousand-700.