As the fall peak tourism season approaches, the Jeju tourism market is foreseeing another boom after a contraction following the renewed spread of COVID-19.
With school field trips, group tours, various seminars, and academic events are flocking to Jeju, vacancies have become a rarity in hotel districts with each related industry facing difficulties in processing reservations. This concentration of demand is leading to predictions that the number of tourist visitors this year will set an all-time record.
In the case of the four-star Hotel A in Jeju, its weekday reservation rate is already above 80%, with most rooms booked up by group reservations. The remainders consist of individual tourists, who are also finding difficulties to make hotel reservations due to the lack of vacancies.
The same applies to the exclusive bus hire industry, which had hit rock bottom. Whereas its utilization had been under 10% last month, it has since spiked to 34% this month. This is attributable to general customers as well as small-scale organizations, various academic associations, and corporate incentive tours, with the increase in school field trips making a significant contribution.
The airline industry is also experiencing a busy period as reservations are continuously soaring. In the case of one major flag carrier, it has had a reservation rate of 92% based on weekday arrivals on the 22nd, essentially signifying selling out all seats with no vacancies on the weekends whatsoever.
Likewise, low-cost carriers are witnessing similar effects, with the concentration of school field trips in the fall season as a major factor in the rise in reservation rates.
An employee of a flag carrier company commented, “The flight ticket prices in the fall peak season aren’t exactly cheap, but the rise in reservation rates seem to be driven by the return of school field trip groups, individual tourists, and demand from golfers,” and added, “Reservations are already filling up for the upcoming public holidays, making Jeju-bound flight tickets scarce. This also seems to be influenced by the ‘late vacation’ trend of avoiding the summer peak season.”
Bolstered by these trends, the fall Jeju tourism market is expecting to see a significant upturn. Jeju Tourism Association also announced that the aggregate number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Jeju this year as of the 19th has been tentatively estimated at 10,004,145.
This marks a 22.7% increase from 8,154,096 tourists from the same period last year, and exceeded 10 million a full month ahead of last year’s figure, which exceeded 10 million on November 8. This year, the number of domestic tourists alone marked 10,000,967 on the 20th.
The tourism industry estimates that, following the removal of the social distancing policy, group tour demand from small-scale organizations, package tours, and school field trips have begun to concentrate in Jeju, in addition to individual tourists such as families and couples.
At present, the resumption of some international flight routes has also revitalized overseas tourism to an extent, but it is likely to remain significantly hampered by high exchange rates and global oil prices. As a result, observers predict that domestic tourists will choose Jeju over destinations abroad for the time being.
An employee of Jeju Tourism Association commented, “We are predicting significant group tour demand for the upcoming National Foundation Day and Hangeul Day, as well as previously-postponed school field trips, while the further alleviation of infection control standards will have an even bigger ripple effect on the domestic market,” and added, “At this rate, the demand among tourists visiting will exceed all expectations and lead to a much higher increase in the visitor inflow into Jeju than previous years.”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.net)
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