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Marketing to Korean Tourists : 5 Essential Tips

AJ Marketing - Marketing to Korean Tourists : 5 Essential Tips

The digital age has ushered in a wave of opportunities for businesses worldwide, and the travel industry is no exception. Korean tourists, with their keen sense of adventure and love for exploration, are making their mark on the global travel scene. In 2023 alone, they've poured a staggering $10.57 billion into online flight bookings and an impressive $6.55 billion on hotel reservations. And let's not forget the $8.58 million splurge on cruises!

AJ Marketing - Marketing to Korean Tourists : 5 Essential Tips - online spend on travel and tourism south korea

But it's not just about the numbers. Behind these figures lies a community of travelers eager to experience new cultures, cuisines, and landscapes. Their passion for travel, combined with their significant spending power, makes them a crucial demographic for businesses in the travel and hospitality sectors. Understanding their preferences, habits, and values can be the key to unlocking opportunities for travel brands.

So, if you belong in the travel industry, this article is for you. We're about to fly into the heart of what makes Korean tourists tick and how you can effectively reach out to them. Ready to know the best tips for marketing to Korean tourists? Take your passports out and let's get started!

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Tips for Marketing to Korean Tourists ⬇️

1. Know Where Koreans Love to Go

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In 2023, the travel preferences of South Koreans painted a clear picture of their favorite international and domestic destinations. Japan topped the list. Not far behind were Vietnam and Thailand. While Asian countries continued to be popular choices, United States also saw a surge in Korean tourists.

On the home front, South Koreans frequently indulged in day trips or weekend getaways within their own borders. Beyond the allure of Seoul's attractions, three destinations stood out:

Jeju Island: South Korea's largest island, Jeju, remains a favorite for both domestic and international travelers. It's not just honeymooners who are drawn to its charm; the island beckons with its picturesque mountains, serene beaches, and an array of unique museums.

Busan: A city where nature's beauty meets urban allure. Busan's beaches and mountains create a scenic backdrop, but there's more to the city than just its vistas. The Busan International Film Festival reels in cinema lovers annually.

Pyeongchang: The echoes of the 2018 Winter Olympics still resonate in Pyeongchang, turning it into a winter wonderland for tourists. Beyond the ski slopes and snow resorts, attractions like the Woljeongsa Temple and Phoenix Snow Park offer diverse experiences, making Pyeongchang a must-visit during the colder months.

In understanding these preferences, businesses can tailor their marketing strategies to align with the destinations that resonate most with Korean travelers.

2. Maintain Digital Presence in Travel Sites and Apps

When it comes to planning their travels, South Koreans have clear favorites in terms of digital platforms. Tapping into these platforms can significantly amplify your reach and resonance with this audience.

First up, there's the NAVER portal. Think of it as the go-to hub for all things information-related in South Korea. Whether it's looking up destinations, reading reviews, or seeking travel advice, NAVER often holds the answers for many Korean travelers.

Then we have Kakao Story, a platform primarily used by Koreans for outbound tourist research. It's a space where users share their travel tales, post pictures, and give recommendations. If you're in the travel business, having a presence here can be a game-changer.

Kakao Talk isn't just a messaging app; it's a crucial tool for hospitality and tourism businesses. From hotel bookings to tour reservations, many transactions and inquiries happen right here. Ensuring your business is accessible and responsive on Kakao Talk can set you apart from competitors.

Of course, international platforms like TripAdvisor and Skyscanner haven't been left behind. They remain trusted sources for flight and accommodation bookings. And let's not forget Google Maps, a reliable companion for many travelers, helping them find their way in unfamiliar territories.

In essence, understanding and integrating these platforms into your marketing strategy can be the key to unlocking the vast potential of the Korean tourist market. By being where they are, you position yourself right in the heart of their travel planning process.

3. Mark Your Calendars and Know When Koreans Travel Most

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Korean National Holidays significantly shape the travel habits of the nation. As the year winds down, the allure of foreign shores beckons, with a notable uptick in international travel during the Christmas and New Year period. In contrast, Chuseok and Seolnal, two major holidays, see a shift towards domestic travel. During these times, Seoul often quiets down as residents venture to other parts of the country.

Summer brings its own set of preferences. While trips to neighboring Asian countries remain a constant favorite, Jeju Island emerges as the crown jewel for summer getaways. From June to August, this island paradise witnesses a surge of visitors, making it the top domestic travel spot during the warm months.

Chuseok, beyond being a time of family reunions, also marks a season of cultural immersion. Koreans engage in cultural activities or festivals during the autumn. This season is adorned with a plethora of festivals that celebrate the country's rich heritage. Events like the Taean Autumn Flower Festival, the Hueree Pink Muhly Festival, and the Jinan Red Ginseng Festival stand out, drawing large crowds, especially from Seoul. These festivals not only offer a deep dive into Korean traditions but also provide a vibrant backdrop for memorable autumnal excursions.

In essence, understanding these seasonal patterns and preferences can offer invaluable insights for businesses aiming to cater to Korean travelers.

4. Collaborate with Korean Travel Influencers

In today's digital age, travel influencers have carved their own space, becoming powerful voices that shape opinions and trends. For businesses in the travel sector, collaborating with the right influencer can be a game-changer, opening doors to a vast and engaged audience.

Take Sophie Kim, for instance. This Korean vlogger isn't just about ticking destinations off a list; she's on a mission to explore the world through its food and culture. Whether it's savoring street food in Egypt or diving deep into the traditional cuisines of Indonesia and North Africa, Sophie's adventures are a feast for the senses. Her vlogs aren't just videos; they're immersive experiences. When she takes her audience to Turkey or any other destination, it's not just about the sights. It's about understanding the heartbeat of a place, its culture, its traditions, and its flavors.

Collaborating with influencers like Sophie can offer businesses a unique opportunity. It's not just about showcasing a product or a service; it's about weaving a narrative, telling a story that resonates with the audience. By partnering with influencers like her, brands can tap into her loyal Korean following, ensuring that their message is not only heard but also felt.

In a nutshell, the right influencer collaboration can amplify a brand's voice, making it resonate with authenticity and passion. So, if you're looking to make a mark in the Korean travel market, consider joining hands with influencers who are on a journey of discovery.

5. Start Offering Authentic Local Experiences

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In the age of Instagrammable moments and curated travel itineraries, there's a growing appetite for something more genuine. South Korean travelers, much like many others, are increasingly seeking experiences that go beyond the usual tourist traps. They're yearning for the authentic, the genuine, the real.

Consider the difference between visiting a market as a mere observer and being guided by a local who can share stories of each stall, introduce you to their favorite vendors, and even teach you to haggle in the native tongue. Or the distinction between viewing a traditional dance performance and actually joining in, feeling the rhythm, and understanding the cultural significance behind each move.

For businesses in the travel and hospitality sectors, this presents a golden opportunity. It's a chance to differentiate yourself by offering experiences that are deeply rooted in local culture and traditions. Think hands-on workshops, intimate community tours, or even home-cooked meals with local families. These are the moments travelers cherish and remember long after their trip has ended.

By offering these authentic experiences, you're not just providing a service; you're telling a story, sharing a piece of your culture, and creating lasting memories. In doing so, you build deeper connections with travelers, turning them from mere tourists into ambassadors who'll share their unique experiences with friends, family, and followers.

In short, dive deep into the heart of your locale and bring forth the genuine experiences that lie hidden from the typical tourist's eye.


In global tourism, understanding and catering to the specific preferences of South Korean travelers can set businesses apart. From recognizing their favorite digital platforms and travel patterns to collaborating with influential voices, there's a myriad of ways to connect and resonate with this audience. As the travel industry continues to evolve, it's those who listen, adapt, and offer truly memorable experiences that will thrive.

So, as you chart your course in the world of travel marketing, remember that the heart of every journey lies in authentic connections and shared stories. Here's to crafting unforgettable adventures for every Korean traveler who crosses your path. Safe travels and happy marketing!

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