|Waikiki beach in Honolulu of Hawaii / Courtesy of HanaTour|
By Jun Ji-hye
An increasing number of newlyweds here are choosing to travel far when going on a honeymoon, opting to visit Hawaii or European countries rather than nearby Southeast Asian nations, according to a local travel agency.
HanaTour, the nation's largest travel agency, has recently released its analysis result of honeymooners who have bought group tour programs offered by the company for the last five years.
Hawaii was the most popular destination last year, with 19.6 percent of honeymooners choosing it, while European countries came in second at 16.2 percent.
In 2015, the U.S. resort island ranked second at 15.1 percent in terms of popularity, after Phuket.
But Hawaii reached the top spot in 2016, and has since maintained its popularity.
European nations have also enhanced their presence as honeymoon destinations on the back of the growing popularity of Eastern European cities such as Prague in the Czech Republic.
On the other hand, vacation spots at Southeast Asian nations have been falling in popularity as honeymoon destinations. In 2015, 49.3 percent of honeymooners chose Southeast Asian nations, but the figure fell to 42.5 percent in 2019.
Phuket, which had been the hottest spot until 2015, was ranked third in 2019.
HanaTour noted newlyweds are spending more and more on their honeymoon year after year amid a growing trend of couples turning away from conventional, expensive wedding customs, and instead opting for smaller, more practical ceremonies.
Newlyweds spent 2.29 million won ($1,960) per person on average for their honeymoon in 2017 and 2.41 million won the following year. In 2019, the expenses increased to 2.51 million won.
"The marriage rate has consistently decreased, while couples who decide to get married tend to skip unnecessary procedures and expenses," a HanaTour official said. "But they tend to put a higher value on the honeymoon, thus travel agencies are focusing on offering tour programs that can satisfy the needs of honeymooners."
As part of efforts to more effectively reach out to soon-to-be married couples, HanaTour holds honeymoon fairs frequently.
The agency plans to hold an event at Center Mark Hotel in Seoul and nine other cities nationwide on Saturday and Sunday to offer the latest trends in honeymoons and help couples to book the most optimal program for them.
Those who book during the fair can get hotel room upgrades and discounts of up to 500,000 won, among other special offers.