Hana Tour, the giant Korean travel tour agency, has closed many of its overseas offices, the Guam Visitors Bureau reported.
The Guam office of Hana Tour is just temporarily closed, according to Thomas Son, marketing manager of the Guam office.
“We are just temporarily closed. We will reopen once things settle down in Korea and the tourism industry here,” Son said.
GVB vice president Gerry Perez said that although Hana Tour plays an important part in Guam’s Korean arrivals, it is not a “major deal” in terms of overall visitors from Korea.
This was confirmed by GVB Korea marketing committee head Brad Kloppenburg who said that Hana Tour and other travel agents account for only about 25 percent of overall visitor arrivals from Korea.
Perez added that the main drivers and distribution channels of the Korean market are now changing.
“It’s shifting a lot more towards free independent travelers, or FIT. There are a lot more individuals doing their own individual travel packages with low-cost carriers rather than the traditional tour agents,” Perez said.
Kloppenburg added that in Korea, just like everywhere in the world, the travel tour industry has been hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of this, Kloppenburg said Hana Tour and other big tour operators have been undergoing corporate restructuring.
He said Hana Tour, in particular, is moving more towards a digital app-based travel service.