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Osaka, Tokyo two most popular destinations in H1

Aug. 7, 2023 - 15:01 By Shim Woo-hyun
A photo shows passengers at Incheon International Airport, Sunday. (Yonhap)

Japan’s Osaka and Tokyo were the two most popular outbound destinations for South Korean travelers in the first half of this year, according to government data Monday.

Data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport showed that the route connecting Incheon Airport and Osaka’s Kansai International Airport was the most popular flight route in the January-June period with about 1.7 million passengers.

The second busiest international flight route was the Incheon-Tokyo (Narita International Airport) route with 1.6 million travelers, followed by the Incheon-Bangkok route with 1.4 million passengers and the Incheon-Fukuoka route with 1.3 million passengers.

Of the top 10 flight routes, four were to Japanese cities.

The number of people who traveled from Incheon International Airport to other popular Southeast Asian cities including Singapore, Da Nang and Taipei also surpassed the 900,000 mark during the same period.

The flight route between Incheon and Hong Kong, one of the most popular routes before the COVID-19 pandemic, fell to 11th with 712,000 passengers this year.

The number of tourists traveling on the Incheon-Shanghai route also plunged over the past two years from some 1 million in 2019 to 221,000 this year.

Japan and Southeast Asian countries were among those who lifted travel restrictions earlier than China. Tourists are flocking to Japan, especially due to an increased number of direct flights and a more favorable foreign exchange rate.