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TOURISM. The number of foreign visitors more than doubled during the 1980s. Although the Seoul Olympics had some isolated effects on tourism, the number of foreign visitors has been increasing steadily (see table 5.11). The purpose of the majority of trips is still sightseeing. However, the share of sightseeing trips has been declining. Even in the Olympic year of 1988, the proportion declined by 4 per cent. According to a 1989 survey, about 93 per cent of foreign visitors come to the Capital region during their trip to South Korea. Most foreign visitors use tourist hotels and about 60 per cent of customers registering at tourist hotels are foreign tourists (KTDI, 1989).
Seoul and Pusan have Kimpo and Kimhae international airports, respectively. Seoul has 76 tourist hotels with 15,725 rooms, which represents 47 per cent of all rooms in tourist hotels. Pusan, next to Seoul, has 12.4 per cent of total room capacity with 4,113 rooms (see table 5.12). In 1987, about 2 million tourists visited South Korea. Most of those tourists visited Seoul and close to half of the tourists visited Pusan. According to a survey, Seoul appears to be the most attractive place for the tourists because of its historical heritage and cultural activities; Pusan and Kyunggi province are the next most popular.
Table 5.11 Number of foreign visitors by purpose, 1980-1988
Source: Ministry of Transportation, Annual Report on Tourism, 1989, p. 49.
Table 5.12 Registered hotels by province
|No.||No. of rooms||No.||No. of rooms||No.||No. of rooms|
Source: KTDI (1989:231).
AIR TRANSPORT. Overseas trade had been growing since the early 1960s and reached 84.9 per cent of GNP in 1981. Owing to the recent expansion of the domestic market, the share of trade in GNP has slightly decreased, but it was still in the range of 65.5 to 76.9 per cent during the period 1985-1990. Because of the concentration of manufacturing activities and producer service industries in Seoul and the
Table 5.13 Domestic vs. overseas telephone calls by region (%)
|Region||Overseas calls||Domestic long- distance calls||Share of population||(A)/(C)||(B)/(C)|
Sources: National Statistical Office, Major Statistics of the Korean Economy, 1991; Ministry of Communications, Statistical Yearbook of Communications, 1991.
Capital region, a large proportion of manufactured products produced in Seoul and the Capital region are exported. The share of air passengers and cargoes handled at Kimpo Airport, located in the vicinity of Seoul, constituted 86.6 per cent and 95.7 per cent of total passengers and cargoes, respectively, in 1989.
OVERSEAS TELEPHONE CALLS. The importance of Seoul in international affairs is clearly demonstrated in table 5.13. In comparison with its share of domestic long-distance calls, its share of international calls, originated and destinated, is disproportionately large. Domestic long-distance calls to and from Seoul constitute 27.9 per cent of the national total whereas overseas calls from and to Seoul are 64.4 per cent of the nation's overseas calls. The table also shows domestic and overseas telephone usage per capita. Whereas the share of domestic calls is proportional to the share of population in Seoul, with a quotient of 1.1, the share of overseas calls is 2.6 times larger than the share of the population. The Capital region's share of overseas calls is much smaller than its share of the population and also smaller than manufacturing employment. This seems to indicate the role differentiation between Seoul and the rest of the Capital region. Seoul seems to provide most of the international links not only to the nation but also to the Capital region, which has been gaining importance as the nation's industrial growth centre since the 1980s. The dominance of Seoul seems more pronounced in international central business functions.
Seoul as a world city
As discussed previously, global cities should be defined and evaluated in their national context. Therefore the degree of international exposure in a nation's urban system can provide some insights into the development of a city's competitiveness and the reach of the geographical area in which its residents are active. To gain a general perspective of Seoul in the family of world cities, it is worthwhile to compare some of the global attributes of Seoul in relation to other world cities.
CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS. A disproportionately large share of the top 500 manufacturing corporate headquarters is located in the major cities in the core countries: Tokyo (99), London (43), New York (40), Paris (22), Osaka (21), Chicago (15). Seoul had 5 and ranked 17th among the major cities of the world. In 1991, Seoul had 11 of the Fortune 500 (Fortune, July 1991).
BANKS. In 1991, 14 of the headquarters of the world's top 1,000 banks were located in Seoul, ranking it sixth among the world cities. The largest number of headquarters is located in London (30) followed by Tokyo (23), Paris (21), and Taipei (16) (see table 5.14).
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES. According to the Union of International Associations (UIA), in 1990 Paris ranked top with 361 international conventions, followed by London (268), Brussels (194), Vienna (177), and Geneva (166). Seoul ranked 23rd with 60 such events. In Asia, Singapore ranked first with 136 events followed by Tokyo (81) and Hong Kong (74) (see table 5.15).
Table 5.14 Top 1,000 bank headquarters, 1991
|Rank||City||No. of HQ|
|10||Vienna, Rome, Osaka||11|
Source: The Banker, July 1991.
Table 5.15 International conventions by major cities, 1989 and 1990
No. of conferences
No. of conferences
|13||Hong Kong||74||13||New York||87|
|15||New York||72||15||Hague, The||83|
|20||Rio de Janeiro||59||21||Rio de Janeiro||68|
Source: Union of International Associations, Yearbook of International Organizations, 1990.
According to UIA figures, Seoul had 17 international organizations, based mostly on UN-related affairs, and ranked 17th. The number could increase gradually in the future since Korea became a member nation of the United Nations in 1991.
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