53 Chinese cruise ships visit South Korea's Jeju Island in a day

   August 15, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Reservations for cruises bound for Jeju Island in South Korea have surged as China reinstates group tours to its neighboring nation.

A Jeju Island official reported that numerous cruise ship companies had emailed to book visits to Jeju and they were currently inundated with berth allocation requests.

Following China's recent decision to allow group tours to South Korea, a remarkable 53 Chinese cruise ships swiftly arranged visits to Jeju within a single day.

In the coming year, a total of 15 vessels will set sail from China to Jeju: one in the current month, 5 in the subsequent month, 1 in October, and 8 in December.

Looking ahead, there are plans for 38 such ships to secure berths at the Port of Jeju and Seogwipo Gangjeong Cruise Port Terminal up until March. As a result, the current reservations being accepted are for dates beyond March.

The first ship is scheduled to arrive in Jeju on August 31st. It's been revealed that its operator intends to attract 1000+ Chinese group tourists within just 20 days after reserving space for Jeju.

Upon the arrival of the Chinese vessel at Jeju, a notable event will unfold – the first of its kind in six years. This period marks the end of a ban on such ships due to the 2017 dispute stemming from South Korea's installation of the U.S. missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

In 2016, Jeju experienced its peak in cruise tourism with 1.2 million visitors, predominantly from China, highlighting the significant role of Chinese group tours in propelling the cruise tourism industry.

China's restriction on these vessels visiting Jeju in 2017 due to THAAD resulted in a prolonged decline in Chinese tourism over six years. From August 31st onwards, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Chinese tourists are expected to grace the island over a four-month period, concluding at year-end.