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Doing Business in South Korea

Well established business relationships exist between the New Zealand tourism industry and the South Korean travel trade. 

This is very important as a large majority of South Korean holiday visitors travel to New Zealand on pre-arranged group or semi-structured tour packages organised by tour companies based in South Korea.

Market Key Facts

Key Source Regions/Cities

Seoul, Pusan

Direct Routes into New Zealand

Seoul - Auckland


Korean Air

Leave Entitlement

15-25 days (based on length of service)


49.04 million (July 2014 est.)




Korean Won (KRW)

Total Outbound Travellers

16.1 million (Dec 2014)

Peak Booking Periods


Peak Travel Periods


Data sources: CIA World Factbook (Currency, Population, Language)
http://kto.visitkorea.or.kr/(Total Outbound Travel)

Doing Business in South Korea

  • A face-to-face meeting is more effective than contact by telephone or a letter when you want to seriously discuss some business with Koreans.

  • Koreans normally bow when they greet each other. When they bow they also welcome the opportunity to shake hands with others: foreigners, friends or strangers.

  • Business cards are important when doing business in Korea. It is ideal to have them printed in Korean on one side. When receiving or passing gifts, business cards or other articles, Koreans tend to use both hands as a sign of politeness.

  • Koreans write and say their family name first and their given name last. At business meetings, given names are not generally used; addressing people as Mr Kim, Mrs Kim or Miss Lee is most common. Never write a person's name in red ink. Koreans only do this if the person is dead.

  • Although many Koreans understand written English reasonably well, listening and speaking ability varies. Don't assume everything you say in English is completely understood. On some occasions, Koreans may pretend to understand, although they actually don't.

  • Koreans traditionally sit, eat and sleep on the floor, so visitors to a Korean home are very often asked to take off their shoes when they go into the house. Do not blow your nose at the dinner table (a very discreet wipe is allowed!).

Want to know more about doing business in South Korea?

Visit the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise website.