(Yicai Global) Feb. 5 -- South Korea maintained a current account surplus for the 20th straight year in 2017, but plummeting tourism from China saw the sector deteriorate and push expenditure in services to an all-time high.
The trade surplus hit nearly USD78.5 billion, but the service industry logged a USD34.5-billion deficit to hit a record high for the third year running, local news agency Yonhap reported today. The number of Chinese visitors to South Korea dived over 48 percent, leading to an almost 23-percent dip in inbound tourism.
The tourism sector deficit hit a record USD17 billion as the number of South Korean tourists heading overseas increased by 18.4 percent, the data showed.
China banned travel agencies from organizing tour packages to South Korea in March after it allowed the US to go ahead with plans to build an anti-air missile defense system in the country. The boycott cost the peninsula nation almost USD7 billion, according to its National Assembly Budget Office.