Korea's international air passenger traffic hit a new high for November due to a large increase in the number of visitors to and from China and Europe, the government said Thursday.
The number of international air passengers to and from South Korea reached about 3.82 million in November, up 9 percent from the same month in 2011, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.
The ministry attributed the growth partly to the global popularity of South Korea's pop culture -- known as the Korean Wave or hallyu in Korean -- especially in Asian countries, which it said is leading to a growing number of foreigners coming to the country for shopping and sightseeing.
In November, the number of passengers to and from China surged 13.8 percent on-year with those to and from Europe also jumping 13.6 percent.
The ministry noted increased services by low-cost carriers also helped boost the overall number of international passengers.
Of the total number of people coming to and from Korea, 66.9 percent used flights offered by South Korean airlines with the number of passengers on the country's budget carriers growing 3.3 percentage points from a year earlier to 8.4 percent.
The combined market share of low-cost carriers in the domestic market also rose 3.8 percentage points from a year before to 45.9 percent or about 810,000 passengers.
The number of passengers on domestic flights, on the other hand, dropped 1.4 percent on-year to some 1.77 million, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)