Published On: Fri, Nov 14th, 2014

Number of South Korea’s cruise tourists soars to 1 million

OB-XQ341_Japan__G_20130529044717The number of cruiser tourists visiting South Korea has amounted to 1 million people a year, a new record. The main reason for the sharp increase is that some Chinese cruise companies chose Korean ports for their destinations, such as Jeju Port, Busan Port, and Incheon Port, because of the deterioration of the relationship between China and Japan.

Until 2012, the number of cruises coming into Japanese ports from China was about 200 to 300, but it dropped to less than 80 last year.

The number of cruise tourists who entered South Korean ports increased explosively from last year, as the number of trips between China and Japan plummeted. The number of cruise tourists to South Korea soared to 790,000 in 2013 from 280,000 in 2012, and for this year it has recorded 1 million so far.

Among tourists entering South Korean ports, those from the top 3 Chinese companies (Carnival Group, RCCL, and Star Cruise) that have their home ports in China accounted for 76 percent last year, and Chinese tourists took up 84 percent among the tourists.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) analyzed that the Chinese tourists who prefer Jeju tours by cruise took the lead in the boom of domestic cruise tours this year. The number of cruise tourists who stopped at Jeju Port increased to 560,000 this year, 1.5 times higher than that of last year (370,000).

The MOF is planning to increase local dock berths for cruise ships from three to 13 by 2020. The MOF also is going to expand the base of the cruise industry by fostering national flag cruisers in the medium to long term. The government will allow national flag carriers to run casino businesses and enhance their operating competitiveness by supporting tax and finance incentives along with deregulation measures.