Tourists from the Middle East are the biggest spenders in Korea as wealthy travelers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries from the oil-rich region come here for cosmetic surgery and other medical treatments.
The Korea Culture and Tourism Institute came to the conclusion by surveying around 12,000 tourists who visited Korea last year.
Each Middle Eastern tourist spent an average of US$2,593, over $500 more than what the average Chinese tourist spent.
Kim Sang-tae at KCTI said, “As interest in plastic surgery rises among Arabs, a growing number of people from the region came to Korea for treatments”.
Other big spenders are tourists from Russia ($1,783 per visitor), Singapore ($1,573) and Hong Kong ($1,519).
In contrast, Japanese tourists spent only $813, the lowest of any group, because they bought mostly cheap products like dried seaweed and other affordable groceries.