Japan

Koreans are more interested in traveling to Japan than before without Japan

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Dotonbori area, Osaka, Japan

Interest in travel to Japan has increased compared to levels before the boycott, while interest in travel to China has plummeted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey.

Korean consumer research firm Consumer Insight revealed these overseas travel interest trends on Wednesday after surveying about 3,000 consumers on their travel behavior and plans in the first quarter of this year.

The degree of interest in overseas travel was evaluated by summarizing responses to the statements “I want to go to tourist destinations that have greatly increased” and “slightly increased”. A higher composite score indicates a higher level of interest.

According to the survey, the South Pacific is the most popular outbound travel destination for tourists in the first quarter of this year, with 51% interest. Europe follows at 45%, followed by the US and Canada at 43%, Southeast Asia at 40%, and Japan at 40%. Beginning in the first quarter of 2019, most of these districts returned to rates comparable to pre-pandemic figures.

In particular, Japan saw the most significant growth in interest, up 9 percentage points from 31 percent in Q1 2019. The trend appears to have reversed the nationwide ban-day boycott sparked by Japan’s unilateral export restrictions in July 2019.

Interest in traveling to China and other Chinese-speaking regions has declined and has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Interest in destinations such as Hong Kong and Macau was just 22%, about two-thirds of the level seen in the first quarter of 2019. Likewise, interest in mainland China travel remained stagnant at a third of previous levels, with a meager 6% registered.

write to Mi-Kyoung Lee at capital@hankyung.com

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