Rising silver tourism brings hopes to South Korea domestic travel rebound

A recent survey by the Korea Tourism Association has identified the country’s senior citizens as a profitable segment that could support domestic tourism rebound during the ongoing hospitality crisis.

Elderly South Koreans are avid explorers who favour short but frequent trips

Yoon Young-ho, president of the Korea Tourism Association, told TTG Asia that active seniors have a spending power of about US$104 billion in 2020.

The survey has also found that 43.7 per cent of those aged 60 and above prefer short and frequent trips, while 22.5 per cent like to visit the same places multiple times.

Half of all respondents – 55.6 per cent – enjoy history and culture programmes, and to have their spouses as their main travel companion as opposed to friends or a travel community.

“It will be important (for tourism players) to accurately identify and respond to their demands”, noted Yoon.

Among the first to respond to this promising trend is education company Kyowon Group, which launched a travel brand, Yeohaengdaum, to target senior citizens keen on domestic tourism.

Yoon: local tourism players should understand and respond to the unique needs of silver travellers

Kyowon’s travel packages allow customers to experience the traditional culture of each region as well as visit hidden attractions and must-visit places across the country, and are led by a specialist storyteller.

The company claims to be the only domestic travel agency in the country to have a professional storyteller leading the tour group throughout the programme.

Kyowon Group president Jang Pyeong-soon said: “Our goal is…to provide a real travel experience and maximum satisfaction for our active seniors.”

To that end, Kyowon provides a variety of services tailored to the needs of the older generation, such as customised breakfast sets and heightened hygiene and safety measures.

Bearing in mind senior citizens’ vulnerability to the Covid-19 virus, Kyowon vehicles are disinfected after every ride, safe distancing is maintained, daily temperature checks are conducted, and mask and hand sanitisers are provided and used.

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