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Online sales of travel services more than double in Q1 on eased virus curbs

Online sales of travel and transportation services more than doubled on-year in the first quarter of 2023 on eased COVID-19 restrictions, data showed Monday.

The value of online transactions of travel and transportation services amounted to 5.51 trillion won (US$4.11 billion) during the January-March period, compared with 2.6 trillion won tallied a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

It is the largest amount since the statistics agency began compiling related data in 2017, and the growth was also the sharpest ever.

The increase came as the government lifted the mask mandate on public transportation in March following the removal of mask-wearing rules for most indoor spaces two months earlier in a major step toward the return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Sales of online food services, however, fell 10.8 percent on-year to 6.37 trillion won during the first three months of this year, which marked the biggest on-year drop, the agency said.

The overall online sales in the first quarter grew 7.4 percent on-year to 53.92 trillion won.

In March alone, online sales rose 7 percent on-year to 18.84 trillion won, as demand for travel services jumped 95.3 percent and that for clothing went up 14 percent on people's growing outdoor activities.

But sales of food services fell 13 percent to 2.1 trillion won in March, the data showed.

Purchases made through smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices rose 5 percent on-year to 13.79 trillion won in March. They accounted for 73.2 percent of the total online shopping, down 1.4 percentage points on-year, data showed.

Source: Yonhap News Agency