Workers are starting to notice… I’ve taken the 7th, 8th, and 9th vacation.

“During peak season, flights and accommodations are too expensive, and the crowds make it hard to enjoy yourself. If you go in June, it’s cheaper, less crowded, and the weather is more pleasant, so it’s a win-win.” (Ms. Anmo, an office worker)

Ms. Anmo, an office worker, went on a summer vacation in mid-June. He had considered going in late July or early August, when everyone else was going, but gave up early on because it was peak season and flights and accommodation were much more expensive than usual. Instead, he chose June, which is off-season. His plan was to travel earlier and save money.

A view of Gimpo International Airport at around 4 p.m. on May 25. Travelers in various groups, including families, couples, and friends, are moving to check their luggage. Photo by Jang Young-joon

Summer vacation: 4 out of 10 “will go in the off-season”
Recently, more and more people are taking summer vacations to avoid the peak season. Various data show that the number of off-season travelers is increasing.

In a survey conducted by Jeju Air, 42% of respondents who said they had “planned a summer vacation this year” said they planned to “avoid the peak season (July and August). Instead, they said they would go on vacation in the low season months of May, June, September, and October.

Similar trends can be seen in data from the Korea Tourism Organization. Looking at the number of South Koreans departing the country in June from 2015-2019, before COVID-19, it shows an average increase of 12.7% over the five years. This is higher than the increase in July (9.5%) and August (5.8%) over the same period.

“The gap between peak and off-season demand is narrowing,” a Jeju Air official told JTBC, “a result of a combination of industry promotions aimed at off-season travelers and a trend toward rational consumption.”

Ticket prices from Gimpo to Jeju. From top, prices in late June, early August (peak season), and early September. For simplicity of comparison, dates are based on 4 nights and 5 days (Wednesday through Sunday) and prices are based on the lowest price regardless of departure time. Photo: Captured from flight comparison and booking site Skyscanner

‘Cost’ is the number one reason for avoiding peak season…by a factor of two
People cited “cost” as the number one reason for avoiding the peak season. The cost of basic expenses such as airfare and accommodation is so much higher than usual that it can be a deterrent.

“I originally planned to go in August, but the cost was hundreds of thousands of won more than now, so I moved up my vacation schedule,” said a self-employed aunt at Incheon Airport on the 25th. “It’s better to eat good food and do better things with the money I save.”

We checked to see how much the cost difference actually was.

For a simple comparison, we looked at flights from Gimpo to Jeju for four nights and five days (Wednesday through Sunday) and the lowest price regardless of departure time.

At the end of June, just before peak season, a round-trip ticket for one person cost 96,700 won. In early August, at the height of the vacation season, it doubled to $236,000. By early September, at the end of peak season, it was back down to 85,700 won.

It’s hard to make a simple comparison because the price varies depending on the type and size of the property, but I could see that in most cases, I was paying more during peak season.

We started with a standard room at a hotel in Seogwipo, Jeju Island, a popular destination for families. At the end of June, the price was around KRW 240,000 per night, rising to KRW 360,000 in early August – about 50% more expensive – and then dropping to KRW 190,000 in early September.

Single-family homes averaged about $50,000 more per night in peak season. One single-family home that was very popular on social media cost $100,000 more in peak season. In a few cases, there was no difference in cost.

Overseas, various costs varied depending on the country and local conditions, but places popular with Korean tourists in July and August did not deviate much from the peak season formula.

On July 25, some parking lots at Gimpo International Airport attracted so many cars that it was difficult to find an empty spot. Photo by Jang Young-joon

Less crowds, better weather…”Stress-free travel”
It’s not just the cost, but also the desire to get away from the hustle and bustle. The last thing you want to do is get tired of the crowds when you’re traveling for relaxation. Some people say that it’s better to take a vacation at home.

Ms. Kim, an office worker, said토토사이트, “Tourist spots seem to attract people to certain places. If you go in the off-season, it’s less crowded and you can enjoy the trip,” said Kim Mo, an office worker, adding, “My acquaintances also prefer the off-season.”

Yang Mo, an office worker who had already gone on vacation in early May, said, “During peak season, it’s hard to get a flight because of the vacation crowds. “It’s also stressful to not be able to leave on the date or time you want, which is why I chose the off-season, when there are fewer people traveling.”

In addition to this, the relatively pleasant weather and the lack of date constraints when scheduling annual leave were also mentioned as advantages of the off-season.

A view of Incheon International Airport’s Terminal 1 at around 7 p.m. on the 25th.

Travel Industry Taking Advantage of Low Season…Expert “Satisfaction Will Continue to Grow”
The travel industry is also scrambling to capture the growing number of off-season travelers.

An official from travel agency Yellow Balloon told JTBC, “The number of inquiries for package deals from April to June has increased compared to previous years,” adding, “We are planning many promotions for off-season travelers.”

A representative from Jeju Air also shared the industry’s sentiment, saying, “There are an increasing number of customers who want to go on vacation at a good value,” and that the airline is offering special events to stimulate off-season demand.

There are also predictions that off-season travel will continue to grow in line with current consumer trends.

Eunhee Lee, professor of consumer studies at Inha University, said, “Consumers today value experiences. “If traveling in the off-season provides high satisfaction in various ways, such as cost and environment, it will be preferred in the future,” she said.

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