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Cruise travelers to S. Korea more than double in H1

All News 15:01 July 26, 2016

SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- The number of foreigners who visited South Korea via cruise ship more than doubled in the first half from a year ago, helped by a rising influx of travelers from China, the maritime ministry said Tuesday.

A total of 899,539 passengers, including 246,783 crewmembers, arrived at four ports in the nation in the January-June period, up 122 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said.

The number of arrivals of cruise ships also jumped from 195 to 306 over the period, the ministry said.

Nine ferries newly started operations this year, including Skysea Golden Era, a 70,000-ton cruise ship by Chinese cruise company SkySea Holding International Ltd. that arrived at the eastern port of Donghae in January.

In late June, Ovation of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International, Asia's largest cruise ship, arrived at the southern port of Busan, carrying 4,600 passengers and 1,600 crewmembers aboard.

If the current trend continues, a total of 841 ferries will operate to accommodate over 1.9 million passengers this year, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) expected.

Tourism officials said the cruise industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Asia, pledging to step up overseas marketing efforts to attract more travelers.

"We will expand cruise packages combining entertainment programs and develop a wide selection of luxury tour programs in the latter half of this year," Park I-rak, a senior KTO official, said. "We will also hold presentations to attract more tourists from the inner Chinese cities."

The number of foreign tourists arriving in South Korea on cruise ships topped 1 million last year and is expected to reach 3 million by 2020, according to the ministry.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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