Yet another round of travel rankings say Asia is so hot right now
Global travel and tourism transaction processor Amadeus has ranked the world's busiest inter-city flight routes in terms of passenger volume.
The results, which numbered the world's top 10 inter-city routes based on travel transaction records from 2011, show that Asia dominated air traffic. Only three non-Asian domestic flight routes made it on the list, led by Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo, ranking second at around 8 million passengers.
At the top of the list was the Seoul-Jeju route, which some 10 million passengers flew in 2011.
This may seem odd -- especially considering the fact that Jeju Island is relatively unknown to non-Koreans and even more so to non-Asians -- but then again, so was the announcement that Jinro soju was the world's best-selling liquor. Korea is really stacking up the global superlatives this week.
Also on CNNGo: It's official: Jinro soju is the world's best-selling liquor
Both Seoul's 10 million-strong population and foreign travelers are responsible for the heavy air traffic, especially during the warmer months, said a Gimpo Airport representative.
To accommodate the heavy traffic, flights from Seoul to Jeju are concentrated almost exclusively to Gimpo International Airport, South Korea's second largest airport, which handles domestic and short-haul overseas flights.
Although it missed out on the top spot, Japan scores the most entries on the list, with Osaka-Tokyo, Sapporo-Tokyo and Fukuoka-Tokyo taking third, fourth and sixth places respectively.
Amadeus stresses that the survey only measured direct, non-connecting inter-city flights. That means layover stops did not qualify as final destinations.
In other words, the passengers who arrived in Seoul or Jeju weren't headed anywhere else, and passengers who caught a connecting flight to a different city from Osaka, for example, were excluded from the Osaka-Tokyo category.
What this means for travelers
With air travel, the busier the route, the better it is for the traveler, as several airlines need to compete with each other for business with lower airfare deals and other incentives.
The Seoul-Jeju route, for example, is serviced by five different budget carriers (as well as Korean Air and Asiana Airlines), all of which offer cut-rate prices, events and a dizzying array of travel packages.
Asia and the Olympics
According to the rankings, not only is air travel within Asia reaching new heights, but inter-regional traffic between Asia and Europe, and between Asia and North America, are also still showing growth, as both grew by 9 percent. Traffic between Asia and the Middle East grew by 6 percent, hitting 38 million travelers in 2011.
London, especially, is a top hub for Asia, with the Bangkok, Delhi and Hong Kong routes leading the growth of air traffic between the two regions.
The upcoming 2012 London Olympics is probably to blame: in a separate study detailing the impact of the 2012 London Olympics on air travel in 2012, Amadeus reported that Asia, despite being third after Europe and North America as an overall source region to London in 2012, has witnessed the most growth with a 27-percent increase in 2011 flight bookings.
Top world inter-city routes
2. Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo
8. Hong Kong-Taipei
9. Cape Town-Johannesburg
More on CNNGo: And the world's most lucrative airports are ...