Travel TrendsSouth Korea's comeback is set to revitalise APAC tourism, as the China and Japan markets are yet to return to international travel.

Get ready for the K-wave sweeping back into Asia

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GlobalData projects that outbound travel from South Korea will exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
GlobalData projects that outbound travel from South Korea will exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2024. Photo Credit: Gettyimages/RyanKing999

As South Korea lifts more pandemic restrictions, the country's outbound tourism sector is set to boom again, especially as the other major markets of China and Japan have yet to reopen their tours to travel.

GlobalData’s latest 2022 update from the ‘South Korea Source Tourism Insight Report' projects that outbound travel from South Korea will 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 the report.

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 region in 2019 with 28.7 million international departures.

As well, the GlobalData report also urge travel industry players to note the distinct preferences of the South Korean travel market.

South Korean travellers typically conduct travel research on Naver, a South Korean online platform, while Google is a preferred starting point for planning for many other markets.

Gastronomy tourism also ranks high among South Korean travellers. According to a GlobalData Q3 2021 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%.

Beyond Asia Pacific, South Korean travellers are also increasingly showing a greater interest in European destinations, said the Globaldata report. Over the next three years, the UK, France, and Italy are expected to experience the highest CAGR (compound annual growth rate) growth in terms of South Korean tourists.

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