JEJU, Dec. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — An all-time high of 13.59 million South Koreans visited the southern resort island of Jeju this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jeju Tourism Association said Monday.
A total of 13.68 million people from home and abroad visited Jeju between Jan. 1 and Dec. 25, up about 16 percent from the same period last year, and more than 99 percent, or 13.59 million, of them were local tourists, according to the association.
The number of domestic tourists was the highest ever, surpassing the previous record of 13.56 million set in 2019.
The association said waves of domestic tourists in individual or package tours as well as students on field trips flew into Jeju after the lifting of social distancing rules earlier this year while the pandemic continued to drive down travelers from abroad.
The annual number of domestic tourists to Jeju remained in the 8-million range between 2012-2014 and surpassed the 10 million mark for the first time in 2015.
The figure since gradually rose to post 13.56 in 2019 before falling below the 12-million level in 2021 due to the pandemic.
The tourism industry in Jeju predicted the final 2022 tally to reach 13.8 million by the end of the year, including 13.7 million domestic visitors.