According to Incheon Airport, the number of international visitors increased to nearly 3.93 million in the first half of 2022, rising 233.2 percent year over year. This is attributed to the lifted aviation limitations and antivirus regulations.
“The increase was most noticeable in May and June when the number of overseas travelers increased 44.6 percent and 34.4 percent on-month respectively. Most popular destinations were the US, Southeast Asia, and Europe,” said Kim Chang-kyu, Public Relations Executive Director of Incheon International Airport Corporation.
On 8th June, the Korean Transport Ministry completely lifted all aviation limitations, including a curfew on flights landing at Incheon Airport. In accordance with the government’s post-omicron response plan, which was unveiled in April, all incoming air travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, have been excluded from quarantine since 15th June.
The number of international tourists is anticipated to reach 24 million this year, 35 percent higher than pre-pandemic level.
By the summer peak season, which runs from 22nd July to 10th August, Incheon airport is also planning to return its operations to their pre-pandemic level by up to 70 percent. This entails managing up to 6 departure gates, 490 check-in counters, and 8 arrival gates for over 60,000 international passengers each day.
The daily average number of travellers for that period is estimated to be 85,621 by Incheon Airport, an increase of 747 percent year over year. Incheon Airport will increase airport limousine bus operations by up to 60 percent to pre-pandemic levels in response to rising passenger traffic at the airport.
“But travel restrictions to China and Japan could hold back travelers and delay travel demand restoration back to pre-pandemic level, since back in 2019, travels to China accounted for 19.1 percent of the total number of overseas travelers and 16.7 percent to Japan,” explained Kim.