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Korean travelers flock to Japan as Independence Movement Day approaches

Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport is crowded with outbound travelers, Friday. Newsis

Many Koreans are planning to travel to Japan during the three-day national holiday weekend starting on March 1, a holiday that marks the 1919 independence movement against Japanese colonial rule, according to the travel and tourism industry, Sunday. Koreans opt for the neighboring country as a travel destination due to the prolonged weakening of the Japanese yen as well as the geographical proximity. This is in contrast to the trend from a few years ago when people avoided visiting Japan on the March 1 Independence Movement Day out of resentment concerning the history of Japan’s domination and exploitation of the Korean Peninsula. At Hana Tour, the nation’s largest travel agency, all of its tour packages to Japan have been sold out for the three-day holiday, marking a 170 percent increase from the same period last year .Mode Tour, another leading travel agency, also saw a 95 percent reservation rate in tour packages to Japan during the same period, which is a 35 percent jump from the previous year and a 95 percent recovery from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

“Last year, Japan still had travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as requiring foreign visitors to get third doses of vaccines,” a Mode Tour official said. “However, Koreans’ travel to Japan has nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels due to the weak yen and the increase in the number of flights between the two countries. “By region, Osaka was top among the agency’s package sales at 47 percent, followed by Fukuoka at 20 percent, Hokkaido at 10 percent and Okinawa at 8 percent. The figures show how Koreans’ preferences for travel destinations in Japan have grown in variety, as Osaka ranked first by far in sales at 81 percent last year .Domestic airlines, including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Eastar Jet and T ’way Air, also saw their major flights to Japan nearly sold out with reservation rates at over 90 percent for the holiday .According to the latest report by Consumer Insight, a local research group on travel trends, Japan ranked top among Koreans’ favorite travel destinations in terms of cost-effectiveness, with around 200,000 won ($150) in daily travel expenditures. Korea is the top source for Japan’s in-bound tourists standing at 782,000 in December 2023, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. The figure accounts for 28.6 percent of Japan’s 2.73 million foreign visitors .Japan expects to receive a record-high number of Korean tourists of 슬롯게이밍 around 10 million this year.


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