Long Chuseok holiday to boost domestic trips
South Koreans are more likely to travel domestically than abroad during the upcoming six-day Chuseok holiday, the longest in six years, a recent survey showed Wednesday.
According to a weekly survey on travel plans and patterns conducted by the research firm Consumer Insight, among respondents going on trips during the Chuseok break, 16 percent plan to go on domestic trips while 4 percent plan to travel abroad.
The survey was conducted on some 2,000 Koreans between two to five weeks before the Chuseok holiday, from Aug. 22 to Sept. 17.
The survey first asked respondents whether they have any travel plans -- defined as plans to travel for more than one day -- within the following three months.
Even if a respondent's travel itinerary included just one day of the holiday break, the researchers classified the trip as falling within the Chuseok holiday period.
During the pandemic, the number of domestic travelers stayed at a steady level and even increased in some cases, but the trips at the time were not specifically planned for the Chuseok break, with the ratio of such trips remaining at about 10 percent.
But this year, thanks to a long six-day break and government efforts to revitalize the local tourism industry, the number of domestic travelers soared to 16 percent, the highest number recorded after 2017's Chuseok season.
In comparison, despite the longer break, the number of overseas travelers remained at 2018 and 2019 levels of 4 percent, reflecting that the trips abroad have only just started to reach pre-pandemic levels.
Still, the data shows that Koreans are considering this year’s long holiday as a chance to go outside the county, when last year only 2.8 percent did the same.
During the 10-day Chuseok holiday in 2017, 28 percent of the respondents planned to travel at home and 8 percent went on overseas trips.
As the government designated Oct. 2 as an extra day off, this year’s Chuseok break runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3. The Chuseok holiday falls on three days from Sept. 28 to 30, while Oct. 3 is Korea’s National Foundation day.
The extended Chuseok break is expected to fulfill the government’s goal of boosting domestic consumption and the local tourism sector.