The Korea Herald


KTO predicts 2022 tourism trends with big data analysis

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Dec. 14, 2021 - 14:39

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Cheongsando Slow Trail in Wando, South Jeolla Province (KTO) Cheongsando Slow Trail in Wando, South Jeolla Province (KTO)
The Korea Tourism Organization predicted next year’s domestic travel trends with the acronym, HABIT-US, on Tuesday, the results showing a shift in travel preferences and patterns brought out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results were based on travel-related big data analysis over the past three years, including travel expenses and use of social media, as well as in-depth interviews with industry experts.

The acronym was derived from “habitus,” which refers to a person’s socially ingrained habits, skills and dispositions. The KTO found that individuals, in adjusting to the pandemic, formed unique habits and travel styles.

“The research was meaningful in that we were able to comprehensively grasp the changes of both the public’s psychological and behavioral patterns on tourism,” Jeong Seon-hee, head of the tourism consulting team at the KTO said.

HABIT-US stands for Hashtags, Anyone, Beyond boundary, In a wink, Therapy, Usual unusuality and Special me.

Below are seven key words or phrases of HABIT-US, and what each means in relation to tourism:

Hashtags -- Distinct preferences were shown in travel types. Social media posts mentioning specific travel types such as “workation,” a combination of “work” and “vacation” referring to staycations at hotels, have increased by 16 percent during the eight months from February to September this year from the 12 months ending January 2021.

Anyone -- a diversification of travel companions was also detected, with a hike in data on traveling with kids, friends, pets, as well as travel-alone options.

Beyond boundary -- Long-distance travels, which shrank in the early days of the pandemic, also came back, with telecommunication data indicating active movements within or among 242 cities and districts.

In a wink -- Growing uncertainties in pandemic times have sparked spontaneous or short trips. 

Theraphy -- Therapeutic nature-themed travels are gaining the spotlight, as more travelers seek comfort through experiences in nature.

Usual unusuality -- Online tours and exhibitions have increased in recent months along with the introduction of various interactive tourism programs.

Special me -- The meaning of tourism had shifted from merely visiting places to being engaged in more activities or experiences that cater to one’s interests and hobbies.

By Kim Hae-yeon (