Naver, which was kick-started as a web portal service in 1999, is now South Korea's largest web service provider that operates dozens of services including finance, digital payment, entertainment, and online shopping services. Naver focuses on becoming a one-stop hub where its customers can gain access to various web services without having to visit separate websites or apps.
According to a survey of 12,424 online consumers, conducted by market data analyst Consumer Insight in 2022, 19 percent of online consumers have used Naver's online travel reservation service, up 143 percent from 2019's 7.8 percent. The usage of domestic travel reservation services increased during the COVID-19 pandemic while foreign services such as HotelsCombined, Airbnb, and Agoda experienced a decline in their usage rate.
According to the state statistical office, South Koreans aged 15 and older spent an average of 11 days for domestic travel in 2019, but the number dropped to six in 2020 when the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in early February. The average number of days spent on domestic travel increased to seven days in 2021 when social distancing regulations were partially lifted.
The domestic travel service market was vitalized in 2022 when the government lifted the face mask mandate in outdoor environments in September. A survey of 3,096 consumers aged 15 years and more, conducted by the state tourism information service, showed that 60.3 percent of the respondents spent at least two days on domestic travel while 39.7 went on a one-day trip at least once in 2022. About 23 percent visited the eastern coastline to enjoy activities at the beach and sea. And 57.6 percent also went on a gourmet trip while they were traveling across the country.
In January, the culture ministry said in a report that the consumers' needs for international and domestic travel will be actualized in 2023. People will seek various unique themes and interests through travel, instead of visiting really popular tourist spots, the ministry said.
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