Sejong University Tourism Industry Research Lab. and Consumer Insight-a firm specialized in travel research-asked some 14,214 adults that traveled overseas this past year about the abundance of travel resources, the comfortable level of traveling environments, satisfaction with their destinations, and their intent to recommend those locations to others. Of the 42 countries with at least one visitor, 35 countries had the analysis-valid sample size of 60 visitors or more (Hawaii, Guam, Saipan classified as separate countries). Hawaii ranked the 1st in both overall satisfaction and abundance of travel resources with Singapore rated as the most comfortable of traveling environments.
◻ Hawaii, #1 in overall satisfaction : Overall satisfaction rate was derived from the responses of the questions ‘how satisfied are you with this destination’ and ‘would you like to recommend this location to others’ regarding one of the countries visited for tourism purposes in this past year. The average of the overall satisfaction was 724 points out of 1,000 points, and when compared by continent, Americas(including Central and Southern Americas) scored the highest, 772 points; followed by Oceania, 761 points; Europe 754 points; Asia 715 points. Africa scored 611 points, more than 100 points less than Asia.
[table 1] Overall Satisfaction of Overseas Travel Destinations
By country, Hawaii (827 points) ranked the first, closely followed by Spain (824 points), with the rankings of these two countries switched around since the last year. The third place was Swiss (816 points), followed by New Zealand (809 points) as fourth and Canada (792 points) as fifth, respectively. Top 5 countries in the ranking were all from Americas, Europe and Oceania with no Asian country entries in it. Singapore (7th) and Japan (10th) were the only Asian countries that made it into the top 10 list with all the other Asian countries performing below the average. The country with the lowest satisfaction rating was India (598 points) that secured a valid sample size(over 60 cases) for the first time while China (600 points) with a narrow margin sidestepped the worst dishonor of being the least satisfying travel destination, continuing from the last year.
◼ Comparison between travel sites in major countries
For the major countries (Japan, China, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Malaysia) with many Koreans visiting for the purpose of traveling, comparisons among major travel sites of the countries are possible. Given that, 29 sites of the 8 Asian countries were analyzed for comparison when each site had the sample size of 30 or more cases.
The study compared 6 regions in Japan(Osaka, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Okinawa, Sapporo, Nagasaki), 7 in China(Shanghai, Beijing, Shandong, Hunan, Guangdong, Xian, Jilin), 4 in Thailand(Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket), 3 in Philippines(Cebu, Boracay, Manila), 3 in Vietnam (Danang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh), 2 in Taiwan(Taipei, Kaohsiung), 2 in Indonesia (Bali, Jakarta), and 2 in Malaysia(Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur).
Japan dominated the list of top 5 regions with Sapporo coming on the top, which indicates that Japanese travel sites are not only satisfactory in general but also well standardized in their service throughout the country. That is, the study implies that Japan is not likely to disappoint its visitors regardless of which parts of the country the visitors travel.
For China, Xian was found to be the most satisfactory, followed by Hunan and Shandong, with Boracay for the Philippines, Bangkok for Thailand, and Danang for Vietnam standing out as the most satisfying site, respectively.
◻ Hawaii, #1 in Abundance of Travel Resources : ‘Abundance of travel resources’ refer to a level of how rich a travel site is in terms of its offer for things to play, to eat, to see, to shop for, and places to stay and relax in. The average of all the overseas travel destinations was 69.0 points (out of 100) on the measure, and the results were rather generally similar to those of the overall satisfaction ratings. Americas that ranked the 1st among the 5 continents was excellent in things to play, see and more except for places to stay and relax in.
Of the 35 countries, Hawaii (80.1 points) came first, a consecutive win since last year, followed by Spain (77.4 points), Australia (76.3 points), Canada (76.0 points), and New Zealand (74.8 points). Hawaii did the best in things to play, to shop for, places to stay and relax in out of the 5 resource areas, which allowed it to maintain its status as the best place to visit. Singapore was the only Asian country that entered Top 10, ranking 8th on the measure.
What is noticeable is the fact that such countries as India, China, and Cambodia that are known for their cultural and historical heritages were ranked quite low. They received low ratings in all the evaluation areas including things to see, to play, and to eat, etc., and this is not because they did not have excellent resources but rather because they failed to turn these resources into travel resources. Visitors might be getting tired even before enjoying such resources due to the poor traveling environments of these countries.
◻ Singapore, #1 in Comfortableness of Traveling Environments : ‘Comfortableness of traveling environments’ refers to how much visitors can enjoy travel resources of a travel site, free of stress from the site’s traveling environments. The study evaluated on how comfortable travels were in terms of such 6 areas as transportation, prices/business ethics, cleanliness/sanitation, convenience facilities, safety/security, and language/local culture. The average of all the overseas travel destinations observed was 65.4 points (out of 100 points) on the measure, and Oceania outperformed the other continents in all 6 areas, scoring 71 points. Europe (67.0 points), Americas (65.2 points), and Asia (64.5 points) came up next in order, and Africa was quite low with 50.8 points, compared to the other continents.
Among the 35 countries, Singapore ranked first with 75.2 points, followed by Japan (74.5 points), Swiss (72.8 points), Poland (72.5 points), and Austria (72.2 points) in order. Singapore, a third ranker among 17 countries last year, took a rapid leap to the 1st place among the 35 countries this year, with Japan ranking the 2nd, retreating from the 1st place last year. Singapore ranked first in safety/security and also did well in the other four areas, performing within the Top 5 rankings therein.
India, China and Philippines formed the lower ranks. Their performance was the lowest in all the six areas with India doing even worse than the other two. These countries were by no means comfortable travel destinations.
The study found that approximately 37.7% of overseas tourists had visited Japan in the past year. This visit rate is three times that of China, the second most visited country with 12.7%. Japan is reckoned one of the best destinations to visit as Korean tourists find Japan very satisfying even for low price as a tour attraction. Japan was highly rated of its resources and stress-free traveling environments while also deemed not to disappoint travelers regardless of where to visit in Japan. On the other hand, China and India were rated as the least satisfying travel destinations in spite of their very abundant travel resources. It will surely be worth it to benchmark how Japan is satisfying Korean tourists and making them revisit the country.
[Table 2] Overseas Traveling Sties Abundance of Travel Resources and Comfortableness of Traveling Environments