Travel Agent NewsAgencies are seeing a boom in overseas vacation packages as travel bubble talks heat up.

Why South Koreans can't wait to travel overseas this summer

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The top three destinations currently in demand by South Koreans are Hawaii, Maldives and Switzerland, according to local travel agencies.
The top three destinations currently in demand by South Koreans are Hawaii, Maldives and Switzerland, according to local travel agencies. Photo Credit: Getty Images/EarthScapeImageGraphy

Talks of quarantine-free travel bubbles between the South Korean government with other countries are swiftly driving up interest in outbound travel for South Korean travellers.

A European tour package recently advertised on a TV shopping channel quickly led to 52,000 people booking for the trip within an hour, according to a report by The Korea Herald.

According to the same report, HanaTour has received a rush of bookings for the Maldives, Hawaii and Switzerland.

Guam is another destination HanaTour is seeing high reservation rates in the coming months, the agency's chief manager Cho Il-sang told The Korea Herald.

Guam is among the countries that the South Korean government is in talks with for potential travel bubble agreements. Other countries in the potential list include Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Guam and Saipan in US's Northern Mariana Islands.

New data suggest that South Korea is forecast to become the third largest outbound APAC source market by 2025.

"Heavy workloads and pressure from superiors have made South Koreans reluctant holiday makers in the past, inadvertently affecting both domestic and international travel," said Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData.

"However, high spenders when traveling 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."

More than 80% of outbound travel from South Korea is typically focused within APAC, with the US also a favourite destination. Primary draws may be sun and beach, city breaks and gastronomical experiences — identified as the top three most typically taken holidays in 2019.

South Korean respondents are also digitally savvy: 71% out of some 520 surveyed identified as ‘always’, ‘often’ and ‘somewhat’ being influenced by "how digitally advanced/smart a product/service is", prompting Bonhill-Smith to highlight social media, app engagement and translation services as ways to heighten the visitor experience.

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