Southeast Asia replaces Japan as Koreans’ favorite travel destination

2019.10.10 16:00:08

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Southeast Asian countries posed as substitutes for Japanese locations since South Koreans refrained from making pleasure trips to their closest neighbor due to soured relationship.

Ticket Monster, Korea’s e-commerce service provider, said Thursday that its online sales of air tickets to Japan in August and September plunged 78 percent compared with the same period last year. Ferry ticket sales to Tsushima, one of Korean’s top travel destinations, dipped 92 percent over the same period.

Travel demand for Southeast Asian countries has instead shot up. From August to September, Da Nang (Vietnam), Bangkok(Thailand), Guam, Taipei(Taiwan), and Cebu (the Philippines) ranked the top 5 overseas destinations by Koreans, based on plane ticket sales. Over the same period last year, Japanese cities such as Osaka, Tokyo, and Fukuoka made the top 5. Taipei and Guam, especially, made a big leap this year, climbing five notches and four notches, respectively, against a year ago.

Taipei. [Photo by Ticket Monster]이미지 확대

Taipei. [Photo by Ticket Monster]

Southeast Asian destinations accounted for 39 percent of airplane ticket reservation in the cited period, while that of Japan was just 3 percent. The trend is expected to continue until the end of this year, with Southeast Asian cities plus Hawaii making up the top five destinations booked for trip in December so far.

Koreans started voluntary boycott against Japan’s goods and services in July when Tokyo tightened controls on exports of three core chemicals used in producing semiconductor and display panels, Korea’s mainstay export items. Their anger over such a decision has not abated, stretching the boycott beyond 100th day this week.

Koreans’ stubborn boycott has taken a toll on Japanese travel industry. It is reported that the local government of Tsushima, which had been one of Koreans’ top travel destinations, has asked the central government for emergency aid.

By Oh Dae-seok and Cho Jeehyun

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