Most tourists exchange their currency at banks, private currency exchange stores, or currency exchange counters at airports. According to data released by the national tax organization, South Korea had a total of 1,464 private currency exchange services as of November 2021. Most of them were installed in Seoul, the southern port city of Busan, and the southern resort island of Jeju. In October 2022, South Korea's convenience store franchise CU launched a money exchange service for nine currencies but they were exchanged by human workers.
GS Retail, the operator of GS25, said in a statement that the company has worked with Ooddy, which operates an integrated foreign currency management platform called "Buddy Cash," to demonstrate currency exchange kiosks at its convenience stores in 10 popular areas among tourists. Coins can be exchanged into reward points that can be immediately used to purchase GS25 products.
The smart machines will be installed in Gimpo Airport in Seoul and Dongdaemun, the northeastern district known for its historic sites and old buildings. The district also has a wholesale apparel market complex with some 30,000 shops. More than 150,000 people visit Dongdaemun market every day.
Thanks to South Korea's eased quarantine regulations, the number of foreign tourists in South Korea increased in 2022. According to data released by the Korea Tourism Organization in August 2022, the number of foreign tourists in July reached 263,986, up 218 percent from 83,000 in July 2021. American tourists accounted for the largest portion with 53,942, followed by Vietnamese with 18,867 and the Philipines with 18,146. In June 2022, South Korea lifted quarantine measures for all foreign tourists who tested negative for COVID-19 at the airport regardless of vaccination status.
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