According to a weekly survey of 500 consumers, conducted by Consumer Insight, a person who went on a trip in May 2023 spent an average of 230,000 won ($174) during an average trip duration of 2.96 days. The average amount of money spent per person on a single trip in May marked the lowest level in two years. The highest point was September 2022 with an average of 279,000 won spent per trip.
The decreased amount of travel money affected how consumers ate, slept, and bought at their travel destinations. Travelers spent 34 percent of their budget on food and 26 percent on accommodation. People spent 32 percent of their travel money on food and 28 percent on accommodation in September 2019, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Korea in 2020.
South Korea is currently going through prolonged inflation where consumer prices shot up by 11.5 percent in May 2023 compared to the same period in 2019. The reason why people are spending more money on food is that the prices have increased since 2019 while the overall accommodation fee has relatively decreased over the years.
The competition to attract more customers is high in the domestic accommodation market due to travelers heading out to overseas countries after the reopening in early 2023 than visiting domestic holiday spots. According to the state airport operator, the number of travelers who headed out to other countries through the country's seven main airports in the first six months of 2023 was about five million.
Data released by Hana Tour, one of the major travel agencies in South Korea, on June 12 showed that 19.9 percent of overseas travelers who plan to fly out in July and August are headed to Viet Nam. 18.2 percent will visit Japan while 17.6 percent will be traveling to Europe. 13.3 percent chose China as their summer vacation destination while 6.4 percent will be flying to Thailand.
Hana Tour analyzed that the rate of people heading to overseas travel destinations is normalizing after the international COVID-19 lockdown that grounded many businesspeople and travelers for more than two years. The travel agency predicted that most vacation flights will be flying out between July 28 and 30, just after elementary schools close for the summer holidays.
The travel agency emphasized that the form of traveling has also changed after the pandemic. While many travelers visited foreign countries in the form of independent trips or group tours of more than 20 people before the pandemic, two-people groups or groups that consist of a handful of family members or friends are the main traveler groups in 2023.
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