(27 June, 2021) Preparing for the Domestic Cruise Industry Rebound in the Post-COVID Era
Jeju Tourism Organization
Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries Extends Membership to Asia Cruise Cooperation in June

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF; Minister MOON, Seong-Hyeok) announced that it will extend its membership in the Asia Cruise Cooperation until 30 June 2024. This continued commitment will help prepare for the post-COVID era by identifying more cruise tourists and setting the stage for the rebound of the domestic cruise industry.

The Asia Cruise Cooperation was launched in 2014 for the development of the cruise sector in Asia, and the member countries work together to develop cruise routes and grow the number of cruise tourists. Currently, the Cooperation consists of Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, China (Xiamen, Hainan), and Korea, which joined the Asia Cruise Cooperation back in 2017.

To date, the Korean government has worked closely with the member countries of the Asia Cruise Cooperation to actively take part in international cruise events, including the largest annual cruise fair, Seatrade Cruise Global (US), and has strived to have Korean ports added to major cruise routes by introducing attractive tourist destinations in Korea via joint marketing. As a result, about 20 cruise tours have been offered through the newly opened Korea-Taiwan cruise route, with more than 50,000 tourists from Taiwan visiting Korea.

With the membership extension to the Asia Cruise Cooperation, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will work with the major cruise candidate cities of Busan, Incheon, Jeju, Sokcho, and Yeosu to enhance their attractiveness by developing unique regional tour products and providing streamlined transportation. In addition, the Ministry will offer benefits to cruise operators, including berthing fee discounts, to win more destinations in international cruise tours. The Ministry also plans to take part in the world’s largest cruise fair, Seatrade Cruise Global, this coming September. By collaborating with the regional governments, the Ministry will promote Korean ports to be included in international cruise routes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry recorded 260,000 international cruise tourists in 2019, backed by its various marketing activities to develop the domestic cruise industry and infrastructure construction at the ports of Sokcho, Busan, and Incheon, including piers and terminals for cruise ships. In addition, with local promotion activities to grow the number of domestic cruise tourists, including the cruise experience program targeting 500 individuals over four years, the number of domestic cruise tourists more than doubled from around 15,000 in 2017 to more than 36,000 in 2019.

In 2020, global cruise tours were suspended due to the impact of COVID-19. However, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will continue to work to win international cruise customers and grow domestic demand for cruise tours. Moreover, quarantine standards will be established to ensure safe cruise tours and coastal cruise tours will be reviewed and launched to revive the domestic cruise industry that has been affected by COVID 19.

Jeon Jun-cheol, Head of Marine Leisure Tourism at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, commented that “the Korean and global cruise businesses are facing challenges due to COVID-19 and the consequent bans on cruise ships (Feb. 2020)” and that the Ministry will “work closely with the member countries of the Asia Cruise Cooperation to steadily prepare for the rebound of the cruise industry in the post-COVID era.”