CTC News

Outbound travel market gained strength in South Korea in 2012.

Long-haul travel volume continues to grow and reached 50% of total trips last year, according to CTC’s latest Global Tourism Watch report.

12 July 2013

South Korea bounced back strongly from the global economic crisis in 2010 to see its outbound travel market break new records in 2012 with more than 14.9 million trips. The won is expected to appreciate against the Canadian dollar in 2013, making trips to Canada more affordable, says the Global Tourism Watch (GTW) summary report just published by the Research department of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC).

Some other key insights:

  • Long-haul travel has grown 85% over the past 10 years in South Korea and represents half of total trips taken in 2012.
  • The US and Thailand are the big draws for South Korean consumers, both attracting 1.1 million travellers each year. American success is partly helped by relaxed visa requirements and a large South Korean population that drives traffic visiting friends and family.
  • Visitation to Canada peaked in 2006 with 189,000 South Koreans taking a trip. The forecast for 2013 is for a continued decline, with a total of just 128,000 trips.
  • Seeing beautiful scenery is the No. 1 interest for South Koreans coming to Canada. Experiences unique to a destination raise South Korean pulses, making CTC’s Canadian Signature Experiences program a potentially big draw.
  • South Koreans take their time planning trips (seven months). More than half of South Korean travellers still book their trips through travel agents, while another quarter consult an agent during the process.
  • British Columbia (86%) is out in front in terms of interest for those intending to visit Canada in the next two years, with Ontario (76%), Quebec (62%) and Alberta (47%) trying to catch up.
  • The majority of South Korean travellers to Canada are 35-54 years old, well-educated and from big-earning households, or are students. The South Koreans considering Canada are more diverse demographically, indicating a broadening of interest in this market.
  • The high cost of coming to Canada is the primary reason South Koreans don’t consider a trip, followed by distance and other preferred destinations.
  • Almost a third of South Koreans get their Canadian travel tips from family, friends and acquaintances.
  • South Koreans get social: 26% shared images and stories from their trips on social networks and 22% blogged about their travels.

TNS conducts the Global Tourism Watch surveys for CTC. The company asks thousands of participants aged 18 and over from around the world for their views on Canada and CTC’s Canada. Keep Exploring tourism brand. The 2012 reports look to identify shifts in each market since 2007 via a substantially revised questionnaire.

Read the Global Tourism Watch 2012 South Korea summary report.



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