Foreign Cruisers' Number Falls Amid China Sanctions

By ,   July 11, 2017 ,   Cruise Industry

The number of foreign cruise travellers visiting South Korea has declined in recent months, according to government data, amid a diplomatic row with China concerning the deployment of US anti-missile system.

Since March 2017, China has been banning South Korea package tours as part of economic retaliation against South Korea over THAAD deployment, that Beijing considers a security threat.

port of Beijing

Chinese accounted for 91% of about 1.95 million foreign visitors who came to South Korea on cruise liners in 2016. Out of the total, 1.2 million tourists came at Jeju, 570000 at Busan and 170,000 at Incheon

The number of foreign cruise tourists surged 74% in January and 71% in February from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries' statistics. 

The figure began falling in March, dropping 45% to 54,000 from 97,000 a year earlier. It fell 80% on-year to 25,000 in April, 91% to 9,000 in May and 95% to 11,000 in June.

Reflecting the importance of cruise ship visits, the ministry held sessions in Miami, Taipei and Tokyo to promote cruise tourism.

In May, Seoul agreed with the government of Taiwan to open a new cruise route connecting South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Early this year, the ministry has developed a separate cruise package which passes through South Korea, Russia and Japan and is hosting an international cruise forum on the Island of Jeju from August 24-27 to promote the country as a cruise destination.