CTC News

South Korea market hit the brakes in 2011.

As a chill enveloped the economy, South Koreans set their travel sights closer to home last year, finds CTC’s latest Global Tourism Watch report.

18 June 2012

It was a familiar tale around the world: a cooling domestic economy that then felt the pinch from both a US economy in the doldrums and the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. And so 2011 proved for South Korea, which also endured its agriculture being hit hard by flooding in the summer, says the Global Tourism Watch (GTW) South Korea 2011 summary report, just published by the Research department of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC).

Some other key findings:

  • The Korean won flexed its muscles on foreign exchanges in 2011, appreciating 17% against the US dollar, 9% against the Euro and 8% against sterling. While this made all long-haul destinations more enticing, the light growth against the loonie (4%) meant that Canada did not have quite the same financial lustre.
  • South Korean consumers reset their travel bearings in 2011’s tough economic climate, with closer, less expensive Asian destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines welcoming many more South Korean travellers.
  • However, the percentage of committed, high-frequency South Koreans who believe that long-haul travel is very important rose five notches to 50%, an encouraging sign for the future.
  • British Columbia (88%) is the biggest pin on the Canada travel map for South Koreans, followed by Ontario (81%), Quebec (61%) and Alberta (49%).  
  • Practical reasons, such as high costs and long distance, remain the two primary obstacles to South Koreans packing their bags and heading east to Canada.
  • Aside from scenery, Canada has no products where it is regarded as market leader. Switzerland holds the aces on skiing and winter pursuits, while Australia is cleaning up on most other nature and outdoor pursuits.
  • However, water-based journeys and winter activities are ranked higher in South Korea than in any of CTC’s other key international markets. Many South Koreans twin travel with a desire to enhance their physical and mental health through vigorous outdoor activity.
  • Although the top five sources of travel info for South Koreans are similar to many other Global Tourism Watch markets, the popularity of travel blogs—second place at 23%—stands out in this market. CTC’s successful series of blogger-visit programs to Canada could be one of the drivers.

Harris/Decima Research conducts the Global Tourism Watchsurvey 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 2011 reports look to identify shifts in each market since 2007.

Read the Global Tourism Watch South Korea 2011 summary report.


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