Phu Quoc increasingly popular among Korean travelers

By Tu Nguyen   October 30, 2023 | 05:00 pm PT
Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island, has gained the admiration of Korean tourists, exemplified by visitors who appreciate its natural beauty and welcoming atmosphere.

Lee Hannim, a Korean tourist who is fond of meditation and yoga, found Phu Quoc Island to be an ideal destination for such activities. She commends Phu Quoc for its stunning beauty, safety, and warm hospitality.

"In the post-Covid era, many travelers are seeking gentle, rejuvenating experiences and a deeper connection with nature. Phu Quoc, being an isolated island, drew me in," Hannim said.

According to her, Phu Quoc ranks as a preferred destination for Korean travelers exploring Vietnam. Having visited Da Nang and Hoi An five years ago, Hannim sought a fresh adventure on her recent trip.

A beach resort on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa

A beach resort on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa

The Korean Hotel & Restaurant magazine highlights Vietnam as a favored international destination for Korean tourists due to its proximity, affordability, and delectable cuisine.

The magazine introduces Phu Quoc as "a rare place in Vietnam with emerald sea waters." The island's diverse range of activities and experiences in both the southern and northern regions adds to its appeal for tourists.

Modetour, a Korean travel company established in 1989, has recognized the growing interest of Korean tourists in Phu Quoc during the winter season.

"After Da Nang and Nha Trang, Phu Quoc is gaining popularity among Korean travelers. We are diversifying our offerings to let tourists experience the charm of Phu Quoc," a company spokesperson said.

Vu Tien Van, director of Adavigo travel agency, emphasized the need to draw in international tourists, especially Koreans, to Phu Quoc. Korean tourists have been vital in supporting local tourism businesses during a slow period, and their presence has benefited restaurants and entertainment venues on the island.

Beachgoers on Phu Quoc Island, April 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Truong Phu Quoc

Beachgoers on Phu Quoc Island, April 2023. Photo by Truong Phu Quoc

However, Van pointed out that this market can be challenging for Vietnamese travel companies since Korean travel companies often operate independently and are not closely affiliated with their Vietnamese counterparts.

Adavigo is currently focusing on tapping into the Indian and Taiwanese tourist markets. He mentioned the successful reception of a 500-strong Indian delegation recently and plans to form partnerships with Taiwanese entities during November and December. He expects a surge in international visitor interest in Phu Quoc, especially after Christmas.

Nguyen Vu Khac Huy, vice chairman of Kien Giang Tourism Association, highlighted Phu Quoc's attraction for international tourists, emphasizing the favorable year-end weather, beautiful coastlines, and many luxury services, which are not too expensive compared to international tourists' spending standards.

Huy mentioned that Phu Quoc saw an increase in international tourists from mid-October. The Kien Giang Tourism Association said that various units hosted groups from Taiwan and Malaysia. Island-based tourism companies used KOLs and Naver, a Korean search engine, to attract international tourists, especially from Korea.

"This is a sensible approach to stay aligned with modern trends," Huy said.

In the first nine months of 2023, Phu Quoc hosted more than 470,000 international visitors, a 258% rise from the prior year, surpassing the yearly goal by more than a third.

Despite this positive trend, Phu Quoc's tourism industry recognizes the need to diversify its strategy to attract international and local visitors for long-term sustainability.

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