South Korea, struck by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, has strictly regulated people from coming into the country to prevent the spread of the highly infectious virus. It was compulsory for all those who enter South Korea to be quarantined at isolation facilities for at least a week. Other countries took similar actions or completely closed their borders.
According to data co-compiled by South Korea's popular accommodation and tourism package reservation service Yanolja and Interpark, the most popular online ticket marketplace, an increased number of South Koreans headed to overseas countries including Japan and Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand as soon as those countries lifted quarantine regulations on foreign visitors.
Data released on January 3 showed that Yanolja and Interpark's overseas travel package sales soared by 2,067 percent in 2022 compared to a year ago. Sales of international flight tickets soared 1,171 percent. Yanolja said that the most popular destination was Japan (20.7 percent), followed by Vietnam (16.3 percent) and Thailand (11.9 percent). Vietnam was the most favored location for overseas travel package programs.
When COVID-19 vaccines were first introduced to the public in early 2021, people with itchy feet turned their heads toward tourist hotspots in South Korea. Many people favored going camping because they could keep their social distance from other people while enjoying outdoor life. Other people visited resorts nearby beaches and mountains where there is less moving population. It was near impossible to reserve a camping site or resort room.
Normally, accommodations in tourist hotspots offer discounted prices during the off-seasons in autumn and winter. Some resorts receive extra fees during the peak season in spring and summer. The travel reservation service operator said that a daily average of some 50,000 domestic accommodation and travel package programs were reserved through online sites in 2022. Unlike the pre-pandemic days, there was no difference in the number of reservations made in the off-season and peak season in 2022, Yanolja said.
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