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What were popular tourist destinations for Koreans in 2019?


As 2019 is now in the history books, it might be the right time to look back on tourist destinations that Koreans loved and those emerging as new attractions luring travelers last year.

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Global travel search engine Kayak recently released the trends of vacation spots that Koreans were interested in in 2019 based on users’ searches on the website.

Favorite places

Jeju Island topped the list as the most-clicked destination by Koreans on the Kayak website in 2019, followed by Japan’s Osaka and Vietnam’s Da Nang. Other Japanese cities also drew interest from Koreans, as evidenced by Tokyo and Fukuoka ranking fourth and seventh, respectively.

However, they lost favor in the second half of the year in the wake of the trade restriction-triggered anti-Japan boycott campaign, under which Koreans opted not to travel to Japan. For example, Osaka was the most-searched destination from January to April, but since then, it barely made the top six.

While Japanese cities were struggling, Thailand’s Bangkok, Guam and the Philippine island of Cebu filled their places on the top-10 list.

Up-and-coming destinations

The destination with the largest increase in the number of clicks was Boracay of the Philippines. In addition, the rise of Chinese destinations was another to watch. With Yanji ranking second, other cities such as Hangzhou at fifth, Tianjin at sixth, Shenyang at seventh, Harbin at ninth and Qingdao rounded out the top 10. Not only did most of these regions appear on TV programs, the rise was influenced by the diversification of routes to China by domestic low-cost carriers, after the distribution of new traffic rights obtained from the Korea-China Aviation Conference in March. Vladivostok, Russia, sat eighth, showing growing demand from Koreans.

Top peak season destinations

The top destination, to which Koreans traveled during the Lunar New Year holiday in February, was Osaka, followed by Jeju Island and Tokyo. Fukuoka and Bangkok rounded out the top five.

However, Jeju and Da Nang took over the top two spots during the summer vacation season between June and August. The Vietnamese resort city soared to the top spot during the Chuseok holiday in September, followed by Jeju and Bangkok.

Although there were no major fluctuations in popular destinations, a slight downturn of Japanese destinations was noticeable, and there was a tendency of preferring adjacent countries for travel.

Best domestic spots

Kayak also unveiled the top 10 list of popular local tourist destinations based on its hotel and accommodation search data, with Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island taking the top three spots in that order. Coastal cities such as Gangneung, Incheon, Sokcho and Yeosu were also popular domestic vacation destinations.

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Separately, Yeosu, Gangneung, Jeonju, Yangyang and Daejeon took the first five places on the trending chart, which exemplified the increase of demand for those destinations. In particular, Gangneung, Yeosu, and Sokcho were in the rankings of both popular and trending destinations.

(Source: Korea Times)