SEOUL -- Data released by Tmap, South Korea's most-favorite navigation service app, showed that Incheon International Airport's Terminal 1 was the people's favorite destination in the period between December 30, 2023, and January 1, 2024. The navigation map data reflects increased consumer attention on overseas traveling.
According to transport ministry data released in December 2023, 6,593,000 people traveled to overseas countries in October 2023, recovering about 90 percent of 7,352,000 overseas travelers in October 2019, several months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Korea in February 2020.
Of the approximately 6.5 million people who traveled overseas, about 1.89 million traveled to Japan. Tourists were also attracted by the low value of the Japanese yen, which is 1,000 won / 108.3 yen. Viet Nam was the second-most favored holiday destination. 780,000 people flew to Viet Nam, while 366,000 people flew to Thailand. The number of travelers recovered to 91 percent (Viet Nam) and 84 percent (Thailand) of travelers in the pre-pandemic era.
Tmap's data showed that the second-most sought place was the Starfield Mall shopping malls, gigantic indoor shopping malls located in Seoul's northwestern satellite city of Goyang, and the eastern satellite city of Hanam. Many people chose to visit indoor shopping malls because of the heavy snowfall that engulfed Seoul and its metropolitan area on December 30, followed by relatively warm temperatures of around one to five degrees Celsius (33.8 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit) on December 31 and January 1.
The navigation service analyzed that consumers spent their New Year season holiday by traveling abroad or shopping. The navigation data also showed that people visited the eastern coastal cities -- Pohang and Sokcho -- famous for their sunrise beachside view. Many South Koreans wake up early before the sun rises on January 1 to visit the eastern coast or climb mountains to watch the New Year's first sunrise.