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Scorching summer, Olympics beat recession in tourism

The number of Korean vacationers leaving the country made a steep increase despite the economic slowdown at home, the nation’s two leading travel agencies said on Tuesday.

Hanatour Service Inc. and Modetour agreed that the unusual heat is driving people away to the beaches in the Americas and Southeast Asia for a cool summer. The Olympic Games boosted summer breaks in Europe as well, they said.
Travelers and students form a long line at the check-in counters at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Travelers and students form a long line at the check-in counters at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

According to statistics from the two tourism giants, the number of vacationers who used these two agencies’ travel service between July 25 through Aug. 3 ― generally the peak of the summer vacation season ― rose by about 20 percent in two years.

Within these 10 days, the number of vacationers who traveled overseas through Hanatour increased by about 23.6 percent from 55,600 in 2010 to 68,700 in 2010. Modetour reported similar research results, with a 21.8 percent increase in the number of its vacationers.

The agency’s research data shows an 88.0 percent and a 65.6 percent growth respectively in the number of Korean summer vacationers traveling to the Americas and Southeast Asia. Korean visitors to European countries also increased by 62.6 percent.

The only exception was Japan with a 22.6 percent drop in the number of Hanatour vacationers and a 49.3 percent drop in the number of Modetour vacationers, possibly due to last year’s earthquake.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)
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