May 07, 2019 11:55
Parents are increasingly strained by the demands of their teenage children to travel abroad alone or on school trips. According to Korea's largest travel agency Hana Tour on Monday, the number of teenage customers who traveled abroad alone last year rose almost 50 percent from 4,200 in 2016 to 6,200.
Some countries require documentation for teenagers traveling alone, prompting travel agencies offer chaperoned tours. Tandem is one travel agency specializing in chaperoned package tours for minors and opened in 2015.
"We are seeing growing demand for such trips and getting a lot of calls asking about our packages," a Tandem staffer said. "The number of teenage travelers more than doubled from 105 in 2016 to 237 last year."
Hana Tour also offers teenage package tours to Europe and elsewhere for the summer and winter vacations. A Hana Tour staffer said, "Traveling overseas is no longer considered a huge event among most Koreans and this has changed attitudes regarding traveling abroad among teens."
But the cost has added to the financial strain on parents, who are already out of pocket due to the endless after-school cramming their children are subjected to.
Kim Jung-sook (55) from southwestern Seoul said, "My daughter in high school has been begging me to send her on a summer trip to Europe that costs more than W5 million (US$1=W1,171). Not only is that too expensive, but I said no for safety reasons. But my daughter tells me that the parents of all her friends are letting them go."
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