Korea may log largest tourism deficit in 3 years in 2013

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea may log the largest tourism deficit in three years in 2013 as the won's ascent has sent more travelers abroad, data showed Tuesday.

The country's tourism shortfall reached US$256 million in November, extending its deficit run for the 18th straight month, according to data by the central bank and the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute.

The accumulative deficit in the first 11 months of this year amounted to $3.26 billion, up 26.3 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

Given that spending on overseas travel tends to increase in December, this year's shortfall may become the largest since 2010 when the tourism deficit reached $3.97 billion.

In the third quarter, the number of outbound travelers jumped 14.7 percent on-quarter to 4.02 million as the local currency gained 6.9 percent to the greenback compared with three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Korea's travel account logged a deficit of $6.66 billion in the January-November period, compared with a shortfall of $6.27 billion the previous year, according to the BOK.

The travel account, which tracks outlays by South Koreans on overseas trips and studies, is part of the service account.

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