While researching tourism to South Korea, I discovered that tourism from Asian countries is dominated by female travelers. 62 percent of tourists to South Korea from East Asia and The Pacific are women, according to the Korea Tourism Organization’s figures for June 2016.
Looking at the numbers on a country-by-country basis, as I did, the countries or territories with the most disproportionate rate of females-to-males visiting Korea were Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, in that order, before the first European country, Portugal, came.
My initial assumption, which may have been colored by having just attended a Kpop dance class yesterday where I was one of two men, was that Asian women might be particularly attracted to Korea due to Korean pop culture. When I took Korean classes in China for a few months, I was the only man in the class, and many of the women cited their interest in Korean culture and celebrities as a reason they wanted to learn Korean.
While Korean culture might be a factor, it isn’t the only factor. It could be that women in Asian countries like to travel more than men. According to China National Tourism Administration figures, as cited by Travel China Guide, 64 percent of Chinese outbound tourists in 2014 were women, so the 65.1 percent of Chinese tourists to Korea who are women is in line with Chinese tourism to the average foreign country.
Not all countries break down tourism by gender, so there aren’t a lot of examples to compare Korean figures with. (Japan’s tourism statistics website and the U.S. website didn’t appear to sort by gender.) However, China’s tourism website does include numbers of gender. In the first nine months of 2015, 65.7 percent of China’s tourists from Asian countries were men–and 64.8 percent from all countries–so it would appear that China attracts a different gender breakdown than does Korea.
For Japanese tourists, for example, 55.9 percent of those visiting Korea are female, compared to just 20.2 percent of those visiting China.