By Jun Ji-hye
Jeju Island has ranked at the top in a recent survey of popular destinations for travels with companion animals, according to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).
The survey, which the KTO carried out jointly with the Korea Consumer Agency, comes at a time when traveling with companion animals has been growing in popularity, as an increasing number of people are living with pets here.
According to Statistics Korea, the number of households with pets reached 3.12 million as of November last year.
In another survey conducted by KB Financial Group's research institute, 48.7 percent of respondents said they want to have pets, indicating that the number of households living with companion animals is expected to keep increasing.
In the KTO survey, the resort island of Jeju became the most popular destination for travelers with pets, followed by Seoul and Busan.
As for types of accommodation, tourists with pets have increasingly searched for pensions, resorts and outdoor campsites. A pension is a type of accommodation similar to a detached house and is prevalent in Korea.
On the other hand, the search volume for guesthouses shared with other people has decreased apparently because of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourists with pets stressed the importance of swimming pools and playgrounds for companion animals in addition to photo spots, food, parking lots and toilets.
Among tourist attractions in Seoul and nearby areas, the top-ranked locations for travel with pets included Seoul Land, an amusement park located in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province; Seoul Grand Park, a zoo near Seoul Land; and Ttukseom Hangang Park along the Han River in eastern Seoul.
Others on the list of popular tourist attractions included Yeouido Hangang Park, Eurwangni Beach, Wolmi Island, Surfyy Beach, Gangchon Rail Park and Gimyujeong Station.
|Mount Sanbang with yellow rape flowers on Jeju Island / gettyimagesbank|
Meanwhile, as an increasing number of people have been traveling with their companion animals, related complaints have also been rising accordingly.
The Korea Consumer Agency has received 390 complaints tourists with pets over the past seven years related to accommodations, public transportation and dog cafes.
Their complaints included a lack of services or facilities for pets and refusal of entry for pets to accommodations or public transportation.
The number of complaints received has been increasing each year, the agency said.
"People in the tourism sector should explore more content for tourists with pets and improve relevant services and facilities, as travel with companion animals is expected to continue increasing," a KTO official said.
The KTO also called for the development of more effective insurance products for both consumers and operators of pet-friendly facilities, in addition to the establishment of guidelines for travel with pets.