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‘Lesser known spots’ become MZ generation’s travel trend: survey

Crowds gather to enjoy Christmas events held in front of Myeongdong Cathedral in Jung-gu, central Seoul on Christmas Eve. (Yonhap)
Crowds gather to enjoy Christmas events held in front of Myeongdong Cathedral in Jung-gu, central Seoul on Christmas Eve. (Yonhap)
Hidden travel destinations known only to locals residing in the area have become the MZ generation’s most preferred travel routes, a survey data showed Thursday.

The Seoul Tourism Organization announced the survey results on the “2021 most-favored online Seoul tourism contents,” conducted on some 9,181 respondents over the month of November via its official website.

The survey was carried out in six languages -- Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Malaysian – and showed the highest number of participants to be Koreans, followed by Japanese and English. More than 60 percent of respondents were found to be aged between 20-39.

Among travel-related digital contents, 42.1 percent chose “videos” as the most preferred choice of media, and 30 percent of those answered “viewing landscapes and sceneries” as the most preferred type of travel videos to watch. Similar results were shown for last year’s survey, which implies travelers’ thirst for scenic beauties that tourism offers amid the pandemic, according to the STO.

A noteworthy portion of those under 19 years of age chose “influencers’ travel video logs” as their favorite genre, while more than half of the MZ generation respondents chose “daily vlogs made by local residents” as their top pick.

For the question of specific activities that one would prefer doing most while in Seoul, both Koreans and overseas respondents gave high marks on the following three options -- going to trendy local spots, visiting landmarks of the area, and traveling to historical attractions.

A noticeable difference was found between Koreans and foreign respondents in terms of how they relieve stress while under pandemic travel restrictions. Around 30.2 percent of Korean respondents answered that they manage by watching travel vlogs or looking at photos of past trips. Meanwhile, 41.1 percent of foreign respondents said they often search through travel-related social media posts, or make future travel plans in preparation for the post-pandemic era.

“The STO has been planning and providing various online travel contents for global fans of Seoul who have been unable to visit the city this year as well, due to the lingering pandemic,” said Lee Hye-jin, head of the STO’s Smart Tourism Division. “We will try to produce trendy contents tailored to fit global viewers‘ tastes, and work to enrich the city’s brand.”

By Kim Hae-yeon (