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Post-pandemic Chuseok to revive overseas travel, gift giving

Sept. 29, 2023 - 16:01 By Mun So-jeong
A ranking of the most frequently mentioned overseas travel destinations for the 2023 and 2022 Chuseok holidays shows Japan and Vietnam at No. 1 for 2023 and 2022, respectively. (KPR digital communication lab)

In the upcoming Korean Thanksgiving holiday of Chuseok, the first since the official end of the three-year pandemic, South Koreans are eyeing travel to Japan while giving fruit as gifts, a recent analysis showed Tuesday.

According to a big data analysis on social media of 2023 Chuseok trends conducted by KPR digital communication lab, there is a growing interest in overseas travel as well as gifts that reflect consumers' personal values.

The data revealed an increase in keyword searches related to travel, especially abroad, as the Chuseok holiday got extended to six days to include National Foundation Day on Oct. 3.

From June to September, there were 7,194 mentions of overseas travel and 5,676 mentions related to travel at home on social media.

This indicates a dramatic increase in travel abroad, marking a 64 percent rise on-year. Last year, there were only 4,374 mentions of overseas travel.

As the weak Japanese yen helped support a rebound in tourism, Japan was the most-mentioned travel destination for Koreans, amounting to 4,929 mentions.

With the removal of all COVID-19 restrictions regarding inbound travelers this year, mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong also drew attention for Chuseok travelers, a huge difference compared to the previous year.

The analysis on keywords related to gift givings for 2023 Chuseok. (KPR digital communication lab)

This year, Chuseok gifts also garnered a large number of mentions, amounting to 91,333 -- a stark increase compared to last year’s 50,281 mentions.

While traditional fruit and meat sets are still the most popular options for Chuseok gifts, the range of items in gift sets has also diversified amid the rise in one-person households.

In addition to fruit sets containing only one kind of fruit, “premium” fruit such as shine muscat grapes, apple mangoes and melons have also gained popularity.

In recent years, “meconomy” -- a combination of “me” and “economy” -- has emerged as a new consumer trend. The big data results showed that "meconomy" consumers pursue their own values and tastes, which translated to a bolstered demand for eco-friendly, carbon-neutral products as Chuseok gifts.

As the government has designated Oct. 2 as an extra day off, this year’s Chuseok holiday runs for a total of six days from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3 -- the longest in six years.