(File pix) South Korean singer Taeyang, member of idol group BIGBANG, performs on stage at an event to promote the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea, 01 November 2017. More than half of foreigners coming to South Korea on private trips chose their destination after experiencing “hallyu,” which refers to the Korean Wave of popular culture. EPA-EFE

SEOUL: More than half of foreigners coming to South Korea on private trips chose their destination after experiencing “hallyu,” which refers to the Korean Wave of popular culture, a local poll showed Thursday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

The Korea Tourism Organisation polled 3,199 people who visited the country with reservations for flights only or for flights and lodgings.

The survey was narrowed to travellers from eight countries – China, Japan, the United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore – and was carried out from the end of last year to the beginning of this year.

Results showed 55.6 per cent of them picked South Korea after watching TV dramas and films. Another 36.8 per cent said they chose the destination after watching travel programmes on TV.

The poll also said 28.4 per cent made their decision based on postings on social networking services, while 26.5 per cent had South Korea recommended to them by their acquaintances.

Introductions and reviews on travel-related internet sites influenced 24.4 per cent of the visitors. Respondents were able to pick multiple answers.

Asked which countries they compared with South Korea when deciding where to go, 65 per cent said they looked at Japan, followed by Taiwan (29.2 per cent), Hong Kong (27.8 per cent), Thailand (24.7 per cent), Singapore (23.1 per cent) and China (13.5 per cent), according to the survey.

Once in South Korea, shopping was the biggest activity, with 67.2 per cent of people citing it.

The poll said 52.1 per cent indulged in food-related activities, followed by visits to cultural and historic sites (51.3 per cent), nature-related activities (36.4 per cent), relaxation (20.8 per cent), festivals and performances (11.7 per cent) and hallyu-related activities (11.5 per cent).

Friends and colleagues, making up 43.8 per cent, were the most common companions on trips to South Korea. Spouses were next at 25.5 per cent. Solo travellers counted for 15.6 per cent of all visitors. --Bernama

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