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South Korean tourists increasingly venturing into Europe

South Korean tourists increasingly venturing into Europe



Over the past four decades, notwithstanding the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, South Korea has witnessed sustained economic growth, referred to as an economic miracle by some commentators

22nd June 2017

 

Over the past four decades, notwithstanding the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, South Korea has witnessed sustained economic growth, referred to as an economic miracle by some commentators, resulting in a major transformation into a high-tech industrialised economy, which has elevated its status to become the 11th largest economy in the world.

 

This increasing prosperity has been concomitant with increasing outbound tourism, with the Korea Tourism Organisation predicting that outbound tourism will increase by 30% in 2017.

 

However, amid recent political tensions with China, with the Chinese authorities deterring Chinese nationals from visiting South Korea, there has been a reciprocal reduction in tourism from South Korea to China. Although there are signals of these tensions easing, not least due to the recent election of the new president in South Korea, this has served to not only increase Chinese tourism to Europe, but has also given rise to an explosion in South Korean tourism to Europe.

 

According to Modetour, the second largest travel agency in South Korea, outbound travel to alternative destinations such as Europe and Japan, increased by 76%+ in April 2017, commensurate with a 58% decline in tourism to China. Furthermore, as reported by Hanatour, the largest travel agency in South Korea, outbound travel to Europe increased
by 31% in May 2017.

 

The sustained economic growth of South Korea has not only borne witness to almost uninterrupted growth in Tax Free shopping sales in Europe, but sales in May also saw the highest rate of growth to these tourists with gains of 72%, and triple-digit gains seen in a number of destination markets, which saw these tourists climb to the 4th most important nationality in May. With the Korea Tourism Organisation suggesting that increasingly competitive airfares means increasing numbers of individuals are opting for overseas travel, coupled with a strengthening Korean Won versus Euro, suggests tourism from South Korea will continue to gain prominence for European retailers.

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