Increased Activity in Jeju Province of South Korea

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CEIC Macro Watch #32 - May 30, 2014 - In 2013, Jeju International Airport surpassed Gimpo International Airport to become the second largest airport in South Korea in terms of passengers served after Incheon International Airport, the country’s and capital city’s main international airport. Jeju served a total of 20.1 million passengers in 2013, slightly higher than the 19.9 million served at Gimpo, but still far from the 41.5 million served at Incheon. Prior to 2002, Gimpo was South Korea’s main international airport, also serving Seoul, the capital city, before being replaced by Incheon. Jeju province’s increased air traffic signals the increasing economic activity on this relatively small island. Air passenger traffic on Jeju Island has experienced relatively rapid growth over the past 16 years at an annualized rate of 4.6%, from 9.82 million people in 1997, while overall passenger movement only grew at an annualized rate of 2.1% over the same period. Due to its fast expansion, in 2001 Jeju Airport emerged as the third largest airport after Gimhae International Airport, which serves Busan, the second largest metropolis after Seoul. Given Jeju Island’s relatively small population of 590 thousand people as of 2013, outgrowing an airport that serves a much larger population such as that in Busan city (3.53 million) suggests rising economic prominence and emphasizes its role as a crucial connecting flight point. Jeju Island is most prominent for its tourism activities given its reputation as the “Hawaii of South Korea”, both among foreigners and South Koreans alike –70% of visitors to Jeju Island are domestic travellers. The growth of the tourism industry in Jeju Island partly explains the growth of air passenger traffic. Given its geographical location as an island south of the Korean peninsula, air travel would be the fastest and most convenient transport. In 2013, 9.98 million passengers arrived in Jeju province using air travel. Jeju province’s high hotel occupancy rate would also signify many of the passenger arrivals are visitors. Jeju had a 76.1% hotel occupancy rate in 2012, much higher than the overall occupancy rate of 64.7% for the country. In addition, there is an increasing amount of land ownership in Jeju: 6,824 foreigners own approximately 11 thousand square meters as of 2013, compared to just 4,666 foreigners owning 9.8 thousand square metres in 2012. This suggests that increased air travel may be partly due to the rising foreign ownership of land in Jeju, be it foreign direct investment or as part of a real estate portfolio. By Sophie Byun in Korea - CEIC Analyst Discuss this post and many other topics in our LinkedIn Group (you must be a LinkedIn member to participate). Request a Free Trial Subscription. Back to Blog

30th May 2014 Increased Activity in Jeju Province of South Korea

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