SEOUL, April 13 (Korea Bizwire) – Travelers banned from going overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic are looking at domestic outdoors as an alternative destination.
In particular, demand for high-end outdoor vehicles such as trailers, recreational vehicles (RVs), and yachts is increasing steadily.
Experts reported that caravan sales have jumped by 30 percent since last year.
Caravans for conventional use are normally designed for three or four people, and cost around 30 million won (US$25,000). Caravans that can carry more than four people are considered to be high-end models.
The increasing demand for recreational vehicles is in stark contrast with the airline and tourism industry, which are struggling with survival as many companies have sent employees on long-term, unpaid leave due to plunging sales.
Experts argue that the middle class is taking out their wallets to quench their thirst for leisure activities as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Caravans and RVs can turn into a campsite simply by parking in any desired location.
They don’t require additional setup procedures, and built-in bathrooms and showering facilities add to the convenience while preventing unnecessary contact with outsiders.
Dining in caravans and RVs is normally reserved for a small group of family members, which reduces the risk of coronavirus infection compared to eating at a restaurant.
Car campers who used to prefer tents are slowly moving towards using caravans and RVs.
The imported RV market, despite exorbitant prices, continues to flourish.
While an increasing number of people are wanting to buy high-end leisure vehicles, they are also sensing the social pressure coming from the coronavirus outbreak.
“More individuals are expressing frustration as it is likely the coronavirus outbreak will continue for some time,” said Prof. Hong Kyu-seon from Dong Seoul College.
“Demand for leisure activities that are safe in terms of sanitation and hygiene is not something we need to frown upon.”
Demand for pleasure craft and yachts, which vary in price from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars and up, remains high.
A local supplier of high-end yachts said while sales remained more or less the same since last year, the number of sales inquiries has jumped by 30 percent.
Some anticipate a changing landscape of leisure activities in South Korea in the post-coronavirus era.
The ‘group culture’ that used to encourage South Koreans to go on travels in large groups may also change, some argue.
“Demand for large tour packages has plunged, but leisure activities for individuals and families are expected to rise,” said Chung Byung-woong, president of the Tourism Sciences Society of Korea.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)