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Korea expects surge in Chinese travelers during upcoming holiday

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Visitors wander around the Dodu Rainbow Coastal Road in the southern resort island of Jeju, Sept. 19. The island, which is heavily reliant on tourism, expects to see a 78 percent post-pandemic recovery in the number of Chinese travelers during the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday season, which falls from Friday to Oct. 6. Yonhap

By Lee Hae-rin

Korea expects to see a surge in the number of Chinese travelers as China's "Golden Week" holiday season kicks off this week for the first time since the country allowed international group travel.

Flight reservations for trips to Korea from China during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 6, soared by 708 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Group, Tuesday.

Hotel reservations jumped 802 percent and their average length of stay was calculated to be around seven days.

The southern resort island of Jeju, which relies heavily on tourism, also expects to see around a 78 percent post-pandemic recovery in the number of Chinese tourists in the upcoming eight-day holiday season, according to the Jeju Tourism Association.

The huge increase came amid China's twentyfold jump in outbound travel bookings compared to last year's holiday season, which was before the country lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions in December and ended a ban on group tours to over 70 countries, including Korea, in August. saw an increase in purchases of private group tours as well as bookings for less-popular destinations.

Several attractions and activities grew popular among Chinese travelers, such as KidZania, a children's career experience theme park in Seoul and Busan, and a one-day private, customized tour around Jeju Island saw high sales.

Bookings to Nanta shows, N Seoul Tower, Haeundae Blue Line Park in the southern coastal city of Busan and Seogwipo submarine in Jeju, also ranked high.

Such data shows a new travel trend among Chinese to seek "unique and immersive experiences," according to Group CEO Jane Sun.

"We've observed a significant shift towards high-quality services and in-depth travel encounters. Travelers are not just exploring popular destinations but also seeking authentic and off-the-beaten-path experiences," Sun said in the press release.

Lee Hae-rin


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