Koreans spend more on hotels, less on camping trips as pandemic wanes

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The “Auto Camping Zone” of a campsite located in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)

South Korean accommodation sales in the third quarter rose 142.5 percent compared to the same period in 2020 when COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, according data provided Sunday by hospitality tech firm Onda.

The results revealed lodging firms’ sales have been on a constant rise since the pandemic, with third-quarter sales this year increasing by 75 percent on-year, and 54.4 percent on-quarter.

Among business types, hotels and resorts showed the highest increase rate.

Hotels showed a 200.1 percent increase in turnover during the July-September period, compared to the same period last year, while the turnover for resorts rose a 207.2 percent.

Meanwhile, bookings of sites for camping, caravan and glamping — luxurious tent-living — were on a decline, with sales of all three combined dropping 4.7 percent.

The result was based on Onda’s analytic study it conducted on over 51,000 accommodation businesses and 500,000 rooms in the company’s own database.

Onda said consumer choices have shifted from camping, where social distancing was possible, to more traditional hotels and resorts amid easing COVID-19 restrictions.

Online bookings were also on the rise, with turnover on portal sites, including Naver, rising by 130.9 percent compared to last year, and bookings through domestic online travel agencies and their foreign counterparts showing a 79 percent and 77 percent increase, respectively.

Onda attributed these upward trends to the society’s return to normalcy and the resumption of economic activity.

“(We expect) sales to recover to 2019-levels by the end of next year when travel will become easier,” Onda said.

By Lee Seung-ku (seungku99@heraldcorp.com)

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