Olemme keränneet Suomen matkailuelinkeinolle ajankohtaista tietoa, tulevaisuuden näkymiä ja muuta hyödyllistä materiaalia Etelä-Koreasta matkailumarkkinana. Englanninkielinen markkinakatsausmateriaali päivitetään kaksi kertaa vuodessa
Updated March 2022
Finland is not well known as a travel destination, and many consumers do not know what they can do if they travel to Finland. However, Finland is famous in the market for it's education system, nature, welfare, and cleanliness. Finland is often visible on TV in various documentaries, often as a benchmark country, and even in some entertainment shows. Visibility in papers and social media to a lesser extent.
Accessibility used to be our key asset in the market, with the shortest direct flights from Korea to Europe. While Finnair still flies directly between Incheon and Helsinki, the flight time is considerably longer, which will negatively affect stopover passengers. However, for those traveling to North Europe, the route is still attractive.
Finland is often combined with other Nordic countries in a multi-country itinerary, thus we are mainly competing with the other Nordic countries for overnight stays. Russia is also commonly combined with the Nordics. In the winter season we have the advantage as Finland is during winter considered more as single-country destination, and other Nordic countries are less popular in the winter. During winter we compete with Iceland and Canada for visitors. In terms of our offering, Switzerland can be considered as another year-round competitor with similar travel motivations.
The pandemic has not yet influenced our position, but we expect that Finland and the Nordics will gain more popularity in the post-Corona era as we are considered more safer countries to travel to, along with the changing trends.
Consumers have been focused on domestic travel and very much avoiding overseas travel during the pandemic. Travel abroad has been very minimal during the pandemic, with domestic quarantine requirement being the most restricting factor. However, between Sep-Dec 2021 before the omicron variant, there was a short window when travel was possible without quarantine upon return, and during this period the number of exits from the country nearly doubled compared to previous months. This goes to show that there are many consumers waiting for travel to resume and ready to leave as soon as restrictions are lifted at both ends.
Instead of travel abroad, consumers have been turning to domestic resorts in Jeju, Busan, Yeosu, Gangreung, etc. and many of them have been fully booked during the popular travel times. Staycations and relaxing stays in local hotels without travel have also been highly trending. Travel agencies have been unpopular as majority book their domestic travel independently through platforms such as booking.com, yanolja, trip.com, etc.
What consumers look from Finland in the post-corona era is clean air and nature, unique activities, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences (auroras, white nights). The best way to serve the travelers is by providing clear and detailed information about services and arrangements, preferably having it available in Korean language.
Most travel agencies resumed near normal-level operations in Autumn 2021, but after the discovery of the omicron variant and subsequent travel restrictions many have had to go on an unpaid leave again. Some staff still remain to plan marketing activities for countries with no quarantine requirements, as well as to prepare for the post-Corona era travel. Quarantine requirement has been announced by Korean government to be lifted from April 1st to all vaccinated travelers, and already March 21 for those vaccinated in South Korea. This means travel recovery is expected to begin from May with strong interest towards travel abroad.
Biggest distribution channels are more or less the same as pre-Corona, the largest travel agencies include Hanatour, Modetour, Yellow Balloon Tour, Interpark Tour.
Accessibility update: Finnair is expected to open new direct flight route between Korea's 2nd biggest city Busan and Helsinki during Summer 2022, as long as the corona situation allows. Flights with a transfer remain unlikely option until corona situation improves globally.
Most relevant USPs for South Korean market are: Healthy & Safe travel, reconnect with the nature, and find your happiness. For the healthy & safe travel, we have a clear advantage in the market due to our country image in consumers' minds. Our nature and happiness are strong points for marketing, but need more work to raise consumer awareness in how that can be felt and experienced through travel.
Our natural phenomenons of auroras and white nights are another very strong selling points, especially for the winter season auroras are the most important selling point.
Sustainability is still a lesser theme in travel in South Korea with low awareness of sustainability when it comes to the travel industry.
Travel abroad will likely resume from April 2022 with quarantine requirements lifted. The recovery will begin from nearby South East Asian destinations, whereas travel to Europe will take longer time to resume. We do not expect to see recovery in the travel to Finland during the first half of 2022, but are hopeful for the latter half to see some signs of recovery. With longer flights to avoid Russian airspace we can expect very low number of stopover passengers, which will slow the recovery slightly. However, winter 2022-2023 season has good potential to reach near pre-corona levels.
Finland and the Nordics will have an advantage as we are thought of as more safer countries than majority of global destinations. There are no major changes in target groups; younger generations (20-30s) and families with children remain the main target groups. Group travel is expected to decrease even more, as travelers prefer independent travel (still booked through local TA:s for safety reasons).
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