Korea beefs up port infrastructure for cruise lines

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Korea will beef up its cruise infrastructure and build Jeju as the top port in East Asia, a Seatrade cruise conference was told.

This follows a phenomenal rise of cruise tourists to the region which rose to 2.1 million last year – up from 430,000 in 2008.

Cruise visitors are expected to surpass 5 million by 2020 according to the vice minister of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries Yoon Hak-bae who spoke at the Asia Cruise Forum held in Jeju from August 26-28.

He said that Jeju is Korea’s global port with 1.5 million tourists expected to stop over  next year.

Not to outdone by Korea, Shanghai would also be pumping more investment into its cruise infrastructure, including the building of large cruise ships by domestic businesses and developing more coastal cruise terminals. The Yangtze River Delta will also be further developed with Shanghai as the main cruise centre.

Wusongkou Shanghai International Cruise Terminal will undergo further expansion to accommodate four mega cruise ships at the same time. The expansion is expected to be completed next year, enabling the terminal to handle 800-1000 ships calls a year.

Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises who also spoke at the conference emphasised the importance of Jeju as the company prepares to launch its 140,000 tonne cruise ship Majestic Princess to Asia starting early next year.

Carnival Asia chairman Alan Buckelew said that the number of cruise ships in Asia has increased by 10 per cent over the last two years, rising from 43 in 2013 to 52 last year.

The conference was attended by about 1300 experts from the global cruise industry.