While the Chinese market has not yet fully returned, South Korea becomes the largest market of Vietnam tourism in the first three months of 2023 with 810,938 arrivals, accounting for 30% of total inbound tourists.
Before the pandemic, Korea was one of the top outbound tourism markets with the highest expenditures in the world. In 2019 only, Korean people made 28.71 million trips and spent up to 32.74 billion USD for outbound travel. It made South Korea a top sought-after market for many countries, especially those whose economies depend on tourism.
Vietnam has always been a favorite destination of Korea in recent years thanks to its beautiful beaches, rich cuisine, advantages in flight routes and reasonable costs. The number of visitors from this nation has increased rapidly over the years and once surpassed China. The number of Korean travelers to Vietnam in 2019 nearly quadrupled compared to 2015. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Korean tourists accounted for 23.8% of total international arrivals and was Vietnam’s second largest tourist market in 2019, following only China.
After COVID-19 was controlled, South Korea soon opened and welcomed international tourism back starting April 2022. It returned quickly and replaced China, which was still closed, to become the largest market of Vietnam tourism. By the end of the first 3 months of 2023, the latest statistics from the National Administration of Tourism show the preference and loyalty of Korean tourists as the market keeps leading the number of visitors to Vietnam.
However, the awareness of Korean tourists of the Vietnamese destination image is quite low. Outbox’s recent survey shows that Korean visitors’ understanding of Vietnam is just at an average level. If Vietnam can come up with a new approach to enhance its image, it is possible to attract an even larger number of visitors from South Korea.
In addition, let’s have a look back at the proportion in 2019, trips to Vietnam accounted for 15.3% of the total 28.71 million Korean trips abroad. For China, the number of trips to Vietnam only accounted for about 3.7% of the total 155 million outbound trips. Obviously, South Korea is a potential market with stable growth of travelers. Increasing the attraction and continuing to maintain the growth of Korean tourists will help Vietnam tourism to have one more durable source market, gradually getting rid of dependence on a certain market.