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Due to plummeting traveller confidence and stringent COVID-19 measures, outbound tourism from South Korea reduced to mere fractions of what they were in pre-pandemic times. Nevertheless, with the country now easing some of its pandemic restrictions, tourism demand among South Korean travellers is set to flourish, finds GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s latest report, ‘South Korea Source Tourism Insight Report including International Departures, Domestic Trips, Key Destinations, Trends, Tourist Profiles, Analysis of Consumer Survey Responses, Spend Analysis, Risks and Future Opportunities, 2022 Update’ reveals that outbound tourism declined by 80.6% YoY from 2019 to 2020, to just 5.6 million international departures. Prior to COVID-19, South Korea was the third-largest outbound tourism source market in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in 2019 with 28.7 million international departures.
Hannah Free, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Outbound travel from South Korea is projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2024 with international departures growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% between 2022 and 2025. By 2025, international departures are expected to reach 30.3 million, according to GlobalData forecasts.”
The South Korean source market is likely to be highly sought after as nearby source markets, such as China and Japan, are yet to make a full return to international travel. South Korean tourists display distinct preferences which travel industry players such as destination management organizations, tourism boards and hotels would be remiss not to recognize.
South Korea differs from other markets in how its travellers conduct travel research. This source market typically uses Naver, a South Korean online platform, while many other markets use Google as the starting point for planning.
South Korean tourists also show a greater interest in gastronomy tourism. According to a GlobalData survey, *39% of South Korean respondents are influenced by popular destinations for food and drinks when deciding on a holiday destination. Concurrently, *44% of South Korean respondents reported that they typically take a gastronomy holiday, compared to the global average of *26%.
Free concludes: “While South Korean tourists have always displayed a preference for nearby APAC nations, owing to proximity and affordability, GlobalData figures show that South Korean travelers are increasingly venturing further abroad by showing a greater interest in European destinations. The UK, France, and Italy are expected to experience the highest growth in terms of South Korean tourists, as measured by CAGR between 2022 and 2025.”
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