Offers galore for vaccinated, except for travelers
Marketing strategies targeting the vaccinated are the latest craze, with free cab rides and discounts on movie tickets and buffets among the offers.
But for overseas travel, offers are not so abundant. Rates are firm and seem to be rising.
As of Tuesday, 12.56 million people in Korea had received their first jab, around 24.5 percent of the total population.
One jab is enough for the discounts, but proof of vaccination will be required.
Air Busan is upgrading passengers from economy class to better economy class seats if they are vaccinated. The upgrades are available for up to five people on the Busan-Gimpo and Ulsan-Gimpo routes through July 15. Those who fly Busan-Jeju, Gimpo-Jeju and Ulsan-Jeju will be able to collect their luggage earlier than other travelers.
Shilla Stay hotel will reimburse up to 10,000 won ($9) in taxi fare for people who arrive at the hotel after getting a shot.
CGV, Lotte Cinema, Megabox are offering at least half off on a movie tickets this month. Tickets that normally cost 13,000 to 14,000 won will go for 5,000 to 6,000 won.
Millennium Hilton Seoul is offering half off at its Café 395 for people vaccinated mid-May through June, extending an existing program that has been popular. The discount drops to 30 percent in July and August.
The lunch buffet costs 110,000 won.
Travel agencies are choosing not to partake in the price cutting frenzy for the inoculated, arguing that people just want to travel at this point.
Hana Tour, the largest travel agency in Korea, recently rolled out travel products with European destinations. It is aiming for Chuseok holidays in September.
Unlike in the pre-pandemic era, when European travel packages normally included stops in many nations, the latest packages are focusing on single countries.
Currently available destinations include France and Switzerland.
Very Good Tour, another travel agency, has rolled out similar European travel packages.
Portugal, Spain and Germany are among the destinations.
People have to be fully vaccinated for Very Good Tour travel packages. Hana Tour said non-vaccinated people can also use their travel services, though they may have to quarantine upon arrival.
“Now is not a time to compete on price,” said Lee Sang-pil, a spokesperson for Very Good Tour. “Prices for hotels, transportation and meals may have risen overseas following the Covid-19 pandemic due to factors like limited operational hours. If so, and if a travel agency offers a price discount to travelers, the company may later have to collect additional fees from travelers.”
“Theoretically, price increases are inevitable because of the additional services and labor needed to facilitate traveling, like checking body temperatures and disinfection,” said Jeong Gi-yun, a spokesperson for Hana Tour.
Jeong added, “Overseas travel is expected to recover once herd immunity is reached around November. At this point, only limited groups of people without young family members are able to travel overseas.”
BY JIN MIN-JI [email@example.com]