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Local tourist visits to Jeju hit all-time high in H1

Vacationers enjoy swimming at the Iho Tewoo Beach in Jeju City on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Vacationers enjoy swimming at the Iho Tewoo Beach in Jeju City on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Jeju tourism did not just bounce back to pre-pandemic levels -- it has reached a new high thanks to high travel demand from domestic tourists, suggests new data released Tuesday.

According to tentative data compiled by the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Tourism Association, the number of domestic tourists to the southern resort island hit an all-time high of 6.8 million during the first half of this year.

Compared to a year earlier, this is a 24 percent jump. The six-month visitor tally was 3.4 percent higher than the previous record set in 2018, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many countries have been pushing for a return to restriction-free air travel, but people still seem to prefer a safer option by choosing local trips, travel industry officials said. The resumption of school trips, business meetings and exhibitions taking place on the island also contributed to the surge.

In June alone, an average of 42,000 tourists visited Jeju each day. With the summer holiday season in full swing, the number of daily travelers is expected to grow further in July and August, returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Domestic travelers accounted for 99.6 percent of the total, as the visa waiver program for inbound tourists only resumed from the beginning of June.

By Park Han-na (