Koreans visit NYC in record numbers

More than 200,000 South Koreans visited New York City last year, setting a three-year record.
According to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism agency, a total of 223,000 people from South Korea visited New York in 2010, a 25.2% increase from 167,000 the year before. It’s also the first rebound from a three-year low following 2007, when New York City drew 238,000 Korean visitors.
In 2005, the number of Korean visitors exceeded 200,000 for the first time in history. One year later, visitors set a record of 242,000, but with the start of the recession in 2007, the number of Korean tourists declined.
The weakness of the Korean won against the dollar also played a significant role in the decline. Although the American visa waiver program for South Korea took effect in November 2008, as travel costs increased, fewer people came to New York City. Last year, though, the economy improved and the won-dollar exchange rate stabilized, leading the number of Korean visitors to the Big Apple to grow again.
All-told, New York City welcomed a record-breaking 9.7 million international visitors in 2010. The number is almost twice that of 2002, when visitors fell to 5.2 million in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. New York City’s top international market was the United Kingdom with 1,055,000 visitors, followed by Canada (977,000), France (596,000), Brazil (589,000) and Germany (528,000). South Korea came in 17th on the list of the city’s top international markets.

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