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More Tourists Using Credit in Korea

Posted July. 12, 2006 03:00,   


A survey has shown that Japanese and American tourists make up 70 percent of the total credit card usage by foreigners in Korea.

The July 11 study of Visa, the credit card service provider, analyzed the company’s card amounts charged by foreign visitors in Korea last year and showed the Japanese to have spent the most, comprising 41 percent or 465 billion won out of the total 1.1377 trillion won.

American tourists spent 331 billion won, or 29 percent of the total, with their credit cards, and following were those from Hong Kong (46.3 billion won), Taiwan (44 billion won), and Britain (32 billion won).

Recent credit card usage growth rates show the most striking escalation by Chinese visitors. The credit card amounts that they have charged in Korea have grown nearly 7-fold from 3.5 billion won in 2001 to 23.2 billion won in 2005.

Chinese tourists’ credit card usage jumped especially in 2002 when Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup and in 2004 with the beginning of the Korean Wave across Asia, by 94 percent and 73 percent respectively. These figures demonstrate a steep increase of Chinese tourists in the country.

The study also showed that the credit card amounts charged by visitors from Vietnam, Russia, and India in the last five years have grown rapidly.

Visa is the largest multinational credit card company in the world, with more than 60 percent of the global market share.

Sang-Hoon Kim sanhkim@donga.com