The impact of low cost carriers on Korean Island tourism

Jin Young Chung, Taehee Whang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Given the mixed findings of extant research on the impact of low-cost carriers (hereafter LCC) on aviation markets (with some studies showing stimulation of new demand, other studies showing LCCs encroaching on the turf of full-service carriers), the emergence of LCCs in Korea raised an interesting question as to whether or not they actually contribute to overall growth in domestic air traffic. The literature has paid limited attention to this issue so far. Employing a multivariate regression analysis with monthly data from 2000 to 2009, the impact of LCCs on tourism demand to a popular destination in Korea, Jeju Island, is examined, focusing on two specific questions: Have LCCs generated new tourism demand and brought more tourism revenue into the island's economy? Have LCCs mitigated tourism seasonality on the island? Controlling for the effects of a number of factors, results showed that LCCs have generated new demand in addition to existing tourist flows to the island. Korean LCCs accounted for 35% of total passengers in 2009, which indicates an average growth rate of 161.7% over the last 4. years, compared to a -0.3% growth rate for all full-service carriers in Korea. However, LCCs seem to have had little impact on reducing seasonal fluctuations in passenger traffic to Jeju Island. The findings of this study will be of interest to researchers, policy makers, and a variety of stakeholders in the tourism industry interested in the relationship between no-frills airlines and island economies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1340
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)


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