Foreigners traveling S. Korea via Airbnb up 130 pct in 2016

SEOUL-- Airbnb Inc. said Monday about 510,000 foreigners visited South Korea last year using its room-sharing platform in the latest sign of its growing popularity.

The figure represents a 130-percent hike from 220,000 recorded in 2015, the website operator said. Separately, about 500,000 South Koreans also used Airbnb in traveling across the country last year.

Among foreigners, Chinese nationals accounted for the largest portion with 20.3 percent. The number is yet down from 46.8 percent recorded in 2015, it said.

Travelers from the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia followed on the list with 16.2 percent, 13.7 percent, 10 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, Airbnb said.

"The more Airbnb grows in South Korea, the more various nationalities visit the country, contributing to the diversification of its tourism industry," an Airbnb official said.

Airbnb said its operation resulted in some 531.52 billion won (US$475.4 million) of revenue in South Korea last year. Some 9,800 people hosted at least one guest in 2016, up from some 5,300 in 2015, and earned some 4 million won a year on average.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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