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Overseas travel demand picking up, mostly to tourist spots

Nov. 7, 2021 - 16:31 By Hong Yoo
The number of passengers flying overseas is expected to further increase with the rollout of the government’s “living with COVID-19” scheme. (Yonhap)
As overseas tourism slowly resumes with travel bubble programs and a rise in vaccination rates, travel to Saipan logged a sharp increase last month, data showed Sunday.

According to the Transport Ministry data, passengers going to Saipan from Incheon surged 178.5 percent in October to 3,900 passengers from 1,400 passengers in September.

Travel to Saipan also spiked in July when South Korea launched the travel bubble with the country, exempting fully vaccinated people from mandatory quarantine upon entry into each other’s territory.

There were only 177 passengers flying to Saipan from Incheon in June, but that number rose to 363 in July and 405 in August.

Overall, around 309,000 passengers took off overseas from South Korean airports last month, up from 291,000 in September, the ministry said.

The airline industry, in response, is resuming more overseas flights.

Korean Air resumed scheduled flights to Hawaii, Sydney and Oakland, California.

It took 19 months for the airline to resume the route to Hawaii, Wednesday, as travel demand had plunged since the pandemic outbreak.

Asiana Airlines will operate two flights a week to Guam in December and is currently reviewing resumption of the route to Hawaii as well next month.

Korea’s biggest budget carrier, Jeju Air, will resume flights to Guam from Incheon Airport starting Nov. 25.

Meanwhile, the number of passengers on domestic flights bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, with more than 3.28 million passengers flying last month, the highest monthly record this year.