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Koreans eye Jeju Island pensions according to Airbnb wish list

Airbnb housing near seaside Jeju Island (Airbnb)
Airbnb housing near seaside Jeju Island (Airbnb)

The spread of COVID-19 has blocked the skyways, but Airbnb users from around the world have put together individual wish lists of places around the world they hope to visit once the crisis is over.

Seaside view of Sometimes Jeju apartment 201, the number one place on Koreans’ Airbnb wish list (Airbnb)
Seaside view of Sometimes Jeju apartment 201, the number one place on Koreans’ Airbnb wish list (Airbnb)

Korean respondents had beachside houses in Jeju Island on their wish list more than any other places in in the country, with seven of the top 10 domestic locations on Jeju Island. The No. 1 location was Sometimes Jeju pension’s room 201, a one-bedroom apartment with an ocean view.

“Before COVID-19, foreign guests accounted for 80 percent. Post-COVID-19, guests have been 100 percent Korean,” said Isabel, host of Sometimes Jeju pension, who wished to be identified by her first name only. “Apartment 201 has a bed right next to the window with a seaside view. We changed the interior of 202 and 203 after 201’s success,” she said.

Isabel attributed the pension’s success to the intensive sanitizing and cleaning along with a homemade breakfast and proximity to the airport, as well as the beautiful scenery.
View from Jang House in Jeju that made the top 10 wish list for beachside housing (Airbnb)
View from Jang House in Jeju that made the top 10 wish list for beachside housing (Airbnb)

Jang House, another beachside pension on Jeju Island made the worldwide top 10 beachside wish list for beachside accommodation in Airbnb. The two-story pension right next to the sea is sought by many travelers wishing a luxurious stay.

The pension was built with preserving the scenery in mind.

“When we built this place, we had the thought of preserving the beautiful nature in mind. We wanted to share nature with people because it was too precious for just us to see,” said Lee Hee-sook, host of Jang House.

Foreigners hoping to have a luxurious vacation on Jeju Island used to be the main guests, but with the spread of COVID-19, Jang House has seen a rise in popularity among Koreans, especially newlyweds, with full booking until August.

“If we could accept more reservations, it would be filled with just newlyweds,” said Lee.

The top 10 places in the global Airbnb wish list rankings reflected the travel trend to come in the post COVID-19 era, with secluded family-oriented places in nature filling the list. From a cave house in Greece to a tree house in Bali, Airbnb users longed for escape from confinement and wished to venture out into nature.

People also searched for “Beach,” “Birthday,” “Wedding,” “Honeymoon,” “Anniversary,” “Getaway,” “Vacation” and “Summer 2020” the most when looking up wish list locations, according to Airbnb, suggesting that people are looking for alternative plans to their special days as the new coronavirus cancelled many people’s plans.

The data was collected from the wish lists of all individual Airbnb guests from March 11 to May 4, but Airbnb Korea did not reveal how many people worldwide or how many Koreans participated in filling out the wish list.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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