The number of overseas tourists who visited the country last month saw its highest growth since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on April 27 said an estimated 1.71 million foreign tourists visited Korea in the first quarter.
The figure equaled 44.6% of the pre-pandemic level of 3.84 million in the same quarter of 2019 and was 16.2% more than 1.48 million in the fourth quarter last year.
By region, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and the U.S. led the restoration of the market with a recovery rate of over 70% compared to 2019. Those from Japan and Taiwan also saw stable recovery with rates of 40%-50%.
Last month's recovery rate was 52.1% of that of the same month in 2019. The "monthly recovery rate" compared with the monthly number of foreign tourists three years ago enjoyed its largest increase last month.
The figures for visitors from the U.S., Singapore, Australia, Germany, Mongolia and France all surpassed that of March 2019. Singapore saw a 50% jump thanks to rapid resumption of air routes and preference for visiting Korea due to the popularity of Korean content.
The number of Japanese tourists, which has shown consistent recovery since last year, more than doubled last month from February, making Japan the first to have 100,000 monthly visitors to Korea since the pandemic's outbreak.
To further accelerate market recovery, the ministry will ease entry procedures for tourists and boost marketing activities abroad.
To mark "Visit Korea Year 2023-24," the K-Tourism Roadshow in May will be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Taipei, Taiwan, and London in June, following previous editions in Hong Kong last month and five Japanese cities including Tokyo this month to place visiting Korea on the bucket lists of people worldwide.