Korea rates well for travel

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Korea rates well for travel

What do visitors think about Korea and what makes their travel experience special?

Visitors seem to view Korea as a safe place with friendly people, according to a Korea Tourism Organization survey conducted from January to December 2008. A total of 11,978 foreign tourists were given questionnaires as they were departing airports and the Incheon and Busan ports.

The majority of respondents, or 58.2 percent, were first-time visitors to Korea, with people here for a fourth time coming in next at 19.6 percent. The reason for visiting Korea was evenly spread between business, at 42 percent, and vacations, 40.4 percent.

The capital city was the most visited location, with an overwhelming majority of 74.5 percent making a stop in Seoul, a slight increase from the 73.4 percent recorded a year ago. Incheon was next with 20.9 percent, with Busan coming in third at 17.7 percent, followed by folk villages at 13.6 percent.

Seoul is a large city with many tourist attractions, so where do visitors like to go in the capital city? Myeong-dong topped the list at 52.8 percent, with Dongdaemun Market and Namdaemun Market coming at a close second and third. Royal palaces, which get the most advertising, are also quite popular.

Although sightseeing is the main purpose for most people, shopping was also big on the list of things to do. Favorite places included airport duty free shops (45.9 percent), department stores (28.2 percent) and specialty shops (24.3 percent).

What’s a questionnaire without an evaluation at the end? Respondents rated their travel experience as a whole at an average of 4.09 out of 5. Ratings for areas such as public transportation, shopping and tour guides, among others, all saw an increase in comparison to the previous year’s scores. The only category to see a decline was food, which saw a 3.95 percent drop.

The question of whether departing visitors would return within three years got an affirmative response from 70 percent of respondents.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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