Travel Alberta

South Koreans Rediscover their Appetite for Travel

The South Korean outbound tourism industry is booming. South Koreans took a record 15 million trips last year, a 4% year-on-year rise. Furthermore, that growth rate is expected to swell to 7% from 2014 to 2020, according to the new Global Tourism Watch (GTW) South Korea summary report by the Research department of Destination Canada.

More key facts and figures:

  • Most South Korean trips are to Asian destinations, which are cheap and easy to get to—important considerations for South Korean travellers.
  • In 2014, 163,000 South Korea consumers took a Canadian vacation, up 13% on 2013.
  • The South Korea economy is predominantly export-led. As a result, it took a huge hit during the global recession, but has since started to rebound.
  • International travel is bound up with South Koreans’ desire for well-balanced and healthy lives, making them seek out trips that allow them to refresh and reinvigorate themselves.
  • Long-haul South Korean travellers most interested in Canada are likely to be 55 or older with higher-than-average household incomes.
  • British Columbia (84%), Ontario (70%) and Quebec (53%) lead the charts of Canada’s provinces for South Korean consumers intending to visit Canada in the next two years.
  • Thailand, the US and Australia are the top three destinations for long-haul South Korean travellers.
  • Recent South Korean visitors to Canada cited guided city tours, guided excursions beyond the city and wildlife viewing as their prime activities.
  • In terms of accommodation, mid-priced hotels (42%) were the most likely overnight resting place, followed by resort hotels (29%).
  • South Koreans stay in the moment on their vacations, with only 31% sharing photos and videos while still on their trips.
  • Travel agents still have an important role for South Korean consumers, with 54% using them to book flights or accommodation for long-haul vacations.
  • Canada’s beautiful scenery and landscapes is its No. 1 calling card for South Koreans by quite some distance.
  • Distance and potential cost are the two largest barriers to South Koreans choosing a Canadian holiday.
  • In terms of seeking travel information, South Koreans turn to friends and family, films set in Canada and TV programs.
  • Although only 36% of recent South Korean visitors to Canada would recommend it to friends and family, that places our country on par with the US and just below Australia (40%).

TNS conducts the Global Tourism Watch surveys for Destination Canada. The company asks thousands of participants aged 18 and over from around the world for their views on Canada and Destination Canada’s “Canada. Keep Exploringtourism brand. The 2014 reports better reflect current travel realities and gather more in-depth information via a substantially revised questionnaire.

Read the Global Tourism Watch 2014 South Korea summary report.


Destination Canada