Every year many people from all around the world come to visit South Korea, but where do Koreans themselves like to travel to? More than half of the population of South Korea travel abroad on an annual basis, which is only continuing to grow since the lockdowns. In Korea, workers are provided with a minimum amount of 12 paid days off a year, meaning that short term package holidays to locations abroad are popular options for many people of all ages, especially as many package holidays can be purchased just 2-3 months before departure. Through this guide we will look at the many locations available for this type of travel both domestic and abroad as well as how Korean’s typically find the best trips to go on.
Where are the most popular countries internationally?
The top countries to which Koreans traveled to in 2022 were:
- USA with around 800.9 thousand visitors from South Korea
- Vietnam with 567.7 thousand visitors
- Japan with 556.5 thousand visitors
The above 3 countries were followed by other Asian countries. North America and European countries are experiencing new growth in visitors from Korea due to the rise of new content being produced featuring these countries. Since the Covid 19 outbreak in 2020, there has been a growing phenomenon and popularity for overseas food tours and along with this, it has also been analyzed by travel specialist that this increase is also due to cheaper flight costs provided by airlines to destinations outside of Asia.
On average, a Koreans spend between $1,000 to $2,000 per person on an international trip, based on an average trip stay of 4.61 days.
The most popular package holidays in Southeast Asia are:
- Da Nang
The most popular package holidays in Europe are:
The most popular package holidays in the US and Canada are:
- Las Vegas
- New York City
A popular resort with Koreans in Vietnam is Vinpearl.
Where do Korean’s travel domestically?
Throughout the year, many Koreans also opt for day or weekend trips to locations within Korea. Outside of Seoul located attractions, the most popular locations for Koreans to visit are:
Jeju Island is the largest island in South Korea and it has maintained its place as one of the most popular tourist locations with both Koreans and foreign visitors. Known for welcoming honeymooners from all around the world, the island is ideal for hiking up mountains, walking along beaches and visiting the wide range of Jeju Island’s unique museums.
Busan is listed as one of the most beautiful places within South Korea, where beaches and mountains are key features of the city’s landscapes. Busan not only famous for its surroundings, as Busan’s international film festival also attracts many film enthusiasts each year. In addition to this, Busan is also known for its Buddhist temples and bustling traditional markets that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
After the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 2018, Pyeongchang has exploded in popularity for people wanting to have some fun at snow resorts during the winter. The snow-peaked mountains and the wild parks are also best experienced during the winter period. Popular Attractions with Koreans include Woljeongsa Temple and Phoenix Snow Park.
How do Koreans find where is best to travel to?
Unlike countries where Google is the main search engine, South Koreans are known for using a multitude of social media platforms when deciding where to go on holiday to. As many Korean’s holidays are under a week, reading reviews online to plan everything out in detail before a trip is very common. When planning a trip, many Korean travellers use the portal launch page ‘Naver’ when they are looking for information about their trip as well as to find a wide range of package holiday deals.
For finding specific holiday details, 32.5% of Koreans use ‘Naver Blogs’, ‘Instagram’ and ‘Facebook’ to collect information on a variety of elements of a trip, especially when finding cafés and attractions. It has been noted in recent years that regular users of Naver’s blogs have had a huge influence on shared location recommendations and top tips to help readers make the most out of their trips.
Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, there has been a sharp decrease in commercial channels, such as TV broadcasted travel programs being used to influence travel decisions and the use of YouTube for more personalized travel related content has increased dramatically in recent years.
Although YouTube and Naver are the most popular options for looking for travel deals at 38% and 30% respectively, travel apps are popular options in too as 28% of Koreans use these apps. Last year, the most popular travel apps in Korea were:
- Google Maps
- Naver Papago
When is the most common travel times for Koreans?
The impact of Korean National Holidays has a huge impact on how Koreans travel throughout the year. Each year, out of bound travel for Koreans increases over the Christmas and New Year period as apposed to during Chuseok and Seolnal- where domestic travel increases and not many people stay in Seoul. Over the summertime there are some destinations that are more popular than others with Koreans. Although generally travelling to other Asian countries is most common throughout the year, statistics by the travel website Planet ware show that Jeju Island is the most popular travel location with Koreans during the summer vacation season between June and August.
Along with the main Korean holiday period ‘Chuseok’, where it is custom for family members and relatives to gather, over 71.3% of Koreans said they participated in a cultural activity or festival during the autumn period. Festivals such as the Taean Autumn Flower Festival, the Hueree Pink Muhly Festival and the Jinan Red Ginseng Festival are just examples of the many festivals held all over South Korea which attract many visitors from Seoul each year during the autumn months.
Although overall there is still a current trend in packaged travel tours among Koreans, according to the ‘2023 Overseas Travel Trend Report’ run by American Express, 77% of Korean respondents said that they would also like to experience ‘free travel.’ ‘Free travel’, which has been popularized on social media in recent years, enables a completely unique way to travel which is tailored to specific attractions based on online reviews and recommendations. Social media has enabled a new age in addition to planned travel packages as more people can confidently tailor unique trips for themselves both domestically and internationally. Although many travelers still go overseas just for leisure (around 80%), visas to live in other countries, especially with people under thirty, has steadily increased in South Korea. And along with the increased use of social media by the MZ generation, this rate is only expected to rise.
We hope that through this blog post we were able to provide an insight into were Koreans like to travel to both domestically and abroad.