Saturday, 12 May 2018

SOUTH KOREA: Winter Olympics Boosts Korea Tourism

Tourism in Korea (ROK) has been significantly boosted by the staging of the Winter Olympics in the country and the arrival of vastly increased numbers of Chinese tourists, according to the latest figures from research company ForwardKeys.

ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing 17 million booking transactions a day, reports that international arrivals in February were up 5.7% on last year, and during the Olympics period (9-25 February) they were up 13.7%.

The most notable increase in arrivals as a result of the Olympics came from Chinese independent travellers, up 57.7%, with a 26% market share, rebounding from last year when China objected to the stationing of US Thaad missiles in Korea.

China’s government took action by discouraging group travel to Korea; consequently, 84% of Chinese arrivals are now independent travellers, compared to 35% a year ago.

ForwardKeys’ data shows other big arrival increases came from Hong Kong, up 98.7%, the USA 15.9%, and Canada 55.6%.

Vietnam saw an unprecedented 635.4% increase, due to improved air connectivity, a visa waiver during the Olympics, and the Vietnamese New Year.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Dr Mario Hardy, said To put it poetically, the green shoots of Korea’s tourism recovery have emerged from the snows of the Winter Olympics.

And what’s particularly gratifying is that it’s being sustained. Tourists are coming from around the world to discover the great attractions of Korea, only glimpsed during the Olympics’ coverage.

ForwardKeys CEO and Co-founder, Olivier Jager, said Once again we’re seeing how a big set-piece international event can change tourism trends virtually overnight.

Our analysis is able to quantify the impact with hard data, providing organisers with a genuine and accurate gauge of how well their projects have succeeded.

Further details of the findings will be revealed at the PATA’s annual summit in Korea on May 17 this month.

Tourism Observer
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