Asian destination Aussies obsessed with

Aussies have fallen in love with everything South Korean.

The last two decades have seen South Korean exports sweep the world, from K-pop and Korean TV dramas to beauty products, fashion and food.

So, it’s no surprise that the Asian country has seen a massive rise in popularity in recent years.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there has been a staggering 28 per cent increase in the number of Australians visiting the hotspot since 2019 pre-covid figures.

It’s also Inside Asia Tour’s number one destination, representing 48 per cent of all bookings in 2024.

“South Korea is increasingly becoming a hit among Aussies for its undeniably distinct cultural charm – and it’s only a matter of time before Hallyu, the so-called ‘Korean Wave’, sweeps the globe,” Inside Travel Group national sales manager Nicole Newport told news.com.au.

She said while it’s hard to not draw comparisons to Japan, South Korea is truly in its own league.

“It really is a land of contrasts – from ambitiously hi-tech to captivatingly traditional, offering cherry blossom viewing spots, majestic hiking trails and of course, tantalising culinary offerings,” she said.

Ms Newport said most Aussies are attracted to its bustling capital, Seoul, for its incredible nightlife from hidden bars to quirky speakeasies, and for its thriving baseball scene.

And let’s not forget Korean cuisine like Korean BBQ which has surged in popularity across Australia.

Known locally as gogi gui (‘meat roast’), the Korean barbecue sees diners seated around gas or charcoal grills to grill their own meat cuts — all while enjoying shots of Soju, a distilled alcoholic beverage, traditionally made from rice.

“Of course, the staple KBBQ and Korean craft beer options undoubtably have a strong appeal to Aussies,” Ms Newport continued.

“But beyond Seoul, there is just so much to explore for the outdoor lovers and adventure seekers alike – there is absolutely something for everyone to enjoy.”

Andrew Stark, global managing director of Flight Centre, said it’s no surprise to see a spike in Aussies visiting the country.

“It’s a destination that people are curious about, and it has a lot to offer,” he told news.com.au.

He drew particular attention to Jeju Island, noting it offers pristine beaches, waterfalls, volcanic cones, lava tube caves and many jaw-dropping natural wonders that are “absolutely bucket-list-worthy”.

“Up to 70 per cent of South Korea is covered in stunning mountainous landscape, making it perfect for nature and thrill seekers alike with world-class hiking easy to reach from most cities,” he added.

Mr Stark said Flight Centre is seeing huge interest in adventure travel as people are prioritising experiences in their budgets over all other discretionary choices.

“They’re intentionally using travel to new destinations to get outside of their comfort zone, taking the road less travelled and discovering destinations that offer a true sense of adventure,” he told news.com.au.

“More and more travellers are asking our experts to find them an experience that combines the best of both worlds, adventure and comfort, and South Korea certainly does just that.”

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