South Korea’s state-run tourism agency said Wednesday it will work with Chinese Internet giant Baidu Inc. to use its mobile search traffic data on travel to attract more visitors from China.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Baidu signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly collect and analyze big data derived from China’s No. 1 search engine to more accurately gauge market trends and introduce customized tour programs.
South Korea has become one of the most popular destinations among Chinese travelers with the Korean pop culture boom in recent years. Some 4.68 million Chinese tourists came here in the first nine months of this year, nearly triple the number of Japanese tourists who used to be the biggest group of foreign visitors, according to the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute.
“We will analyze Baidu’s big data to use it to better target Chinese tourists from next year,” Lee Jae-sung, KTO’s international tour marketing director, said during a signing ceremony in Seoul. “We will also share useful data with related industries to support their businesses.”
“Baidu will provide tour-related data in China to help (the KTO) establish marketing strategies based on the scientific analysis of demand,” said Anne Xu, general manager of the user product marketing department at Baidu.
The Beijing-based company said it will place a direct link to the KTO’s Chinese webpage on Baidu Zhidao, a Chinese language encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia.
According to KTO-Baidu joint data, 55 percent of netizens who typed “Korea tour” into the search engine were female, with women in their 20s and 30s most interested in traveling to South Korea.
Chinese from the capital city Beijing generated the highest mobile traffic related to Korea tours, followed by big cities on the east coast, including Shanghai, Zheziang and Guangdong, data showed. People in western China searched less about Korea.
Searches on group tours to South Korea nearly tripled over the past four years, while those in their 30s were more interested in individual tour programs, data indicated.
Kim Soo-hyun, a Korean actor who starred in the hit drama “My Love from the Star,” topped the list of favorite celebrities. Dongdaemun, a modern fashion district in Seoul, was the most popular destination, while gimbap, rice and other ingredients wrapped in seaweed, was the most searched Korean food, data showed.