Why you should pay attention to South Korea’s outbound tourism
South Korea may become the third-largest source market out of the APAC region going forward, according to GlobalData.
Outbound tourism from South Korea is not forecast to surpass pre-pandemic levels until 2024 when departures are projected to reach 29.6 million. However, South Korea is forecast one of the highest growth periods from 2020–2025 in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% and 30.2 million travelling outbound by 2025.
Engaging with this source market through social media and technology integration could prove highly beneficial in a post-pandemic environment. Technology also plays a part in travel preferences as 71% of South Korean respondents influenced by ‘how digitally advanced/smart a product/service is’ in GlobalData’s Q1 2021 consumer survey. The same survey also revealed that 51% are spending more time online in general; this was higher than any other country surveyed (total countries surveyed: 42), suggesting technological dependence has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 80% of outbound travel from South Korea is typically focused within the APAC region, spurred by proximity and general ease of travel. The US is also a primary destination for this source market. This is likely spurred by factors such as the opportunity for sun and beach, city breaks and gastronomical experiences, which were identified as the top three most typically taken holidays in 2019, according to GlobalData’s Q3 2019 consumer survey.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst, said: “Government initiatives to urge more leisure time and decrease working hours in 2018, however, did have an impact and saw yearly increases in both domestic (YoY +44.7%) and international travel (YoY +8.3%). The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 naturally saw levels of both domestic (YoY -70.6%) and outbound (YoY -80.6%) travel decline significantly. However, high spenders when travelling and with a large desire for alternative travel experiences, mean South Korea could be a viable market opportunity for various destinations in a post-pandemic environment.
Bonhill-Smith adds: “Opportunities to attract South Korean tourists largely revolve around the integration of technology into the traveller experience. Social media, app engagement and translation services will only heighten the visitor experience.”
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