Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan have been in heated competition to attract more Korean tourists during the Lunar New Year holiday amid lower travel demand for Japan, industry officials said Thursday.
Seollal, or the Lunar New Year, is one of the nation’s biggest traditional holidays. Its four-day weekend starts Jan. 23.
While cities in Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan have competed to figure in the upper ranks in recent surveys of popular destinations, travel-and-hotel booking site Trip.com said Bangkok came top in its analysis of holidaymakers who bought flight tickets offered by the company.
Vietnam’s Da Nang and Taiwan’s Taipei were second and third.
In terms of hotel reservations, Bangkok also ranked first, followed by Taipei and Da Nang.
Trip.com noted its analysis showed 50 percent of holidaymakers chose to travel alone during the holiday, attributing this to the rapidly growing number of single-person households.
“Forms of families have changed a lot over the years, with the number of single-person households having grown,” a Trip.com official said. “This seems to have exerted influence on the travel trend in the Lunar New Year holiday.”
More people here have opted not to travel to Japan in recent months amid a nationwide boycott after Japan imposed harsh restrictions on exports of key industrial materials to Korea last July.
According to Incheon International Airport Corp., which operates Incheon International Airport, the number of passengers on Korea-China and Korea-Southeast Asia routes has increased, offsetting the decrease in passengers on Korea-Japan routes.
Bangkok has been consistently popular among Korean travelers for its reasonably priced five-star luxury hotels and services.
“We have carried out various events to raise awareness and improve the image of Thailand so people can think about the country when they are planning to go on a trip,” a Seoul-based official of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said.
Da Nang is one of the leading tourism and resort cities in Southeast Asia, and home to My Khe Beach, cited as one of the six most attractive beaches on the planet. It offers a magnificent sunset view and a chance to enjoy a variety of marine leisure activities such as snorkeling.
Taipei is known for delicious food, hot springs, shopping and a convenient subway system.
“We hold lectures once a month in Seoul and Busan, during which time holidaymakers can listen to traveling trips and other useful information from travel writers,” a Seoul-based official of the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan said.
By Jun Ji-hye @ Korea Times