Gangwon governor optimistic about Korean province cruise prospects – Cruise Industry News

Cruising in South Korea is still a new opportunity for many, but its regions have as much potential as the Caribbean, said the governor of Korean province of Gangwon, Choi Moon-soon.

“The cruise industry in Gangwon Province is as promising as the Caribbean industry,” he said. News from the cruise industry. “However, the cruise infrastructure has not been relatively well developed. We look forward to the development of the cruise industry in the future.

According to Choi, cruising in the province has seen a revival in the run-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Gangwon.

“The cruise industry was not well developed before (that) … After hosting the Pyeongchang Olympics, cruise ships started calling at ports in Gangwon province,” he said. declared.

According to data shared by the Gangwon Tourism Organization, the number of stopovers made by cruise ships in the port of Sokcho increased from one in 2016 (the Costa Victoria) to 11 in 2017, three in 2018 and five in 2019.

However, Choi said, the cruises came to a screeching halt with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With 18 confirmed cruise stopovers for the province for 2021, the number dropped to zero overnight.

The province is now preparing for the resumption of cruises in 2022-2023.

So far, eight calls are scheduled for 2022 and three for 2023. The first call is scheduled for April 2022 – if the country opens by then.

Choi said Gangwon Province has a “geographic advantage” for cruise ships.

“(The province) is well connected to Japan, Russia, North Korea and even China. The population living in Northeast Asia, Japan and the region near the East Sea is around 300 million, ”he noted.

Gangwon Province is also located in the center of the Korean Peninsula, Choi said, “so you can easily reach Vladivostok, Japan, Shanghai and Taiwan.” Its proximity to Seoul is also useful.

“From Seoul, you can get to Gangwon Province in an hour and a half. The population living in the greater Seoul area is around 20 million. So all these people can come to Gangwon province and easily get to Russia, Japan and other countries, ”he explained.

Plans related to cruises in the near future include making the port of Sokcho compatible with the Quantum class.

“We are preparing to be equipped with Quantum-class infrastructure within four to five years. When Quantum Class cruise ships enter our port, the industry will flourish, ”said Choi. “We will witness an unprecedented take-off in terms of quality and quantity. “

A more distant (and ideal) future includes cruises from Sokcho Port that will stop in North Korea.

“Gangwon province where the port of Sokcho is located was the place where the war between Russia and Japan took place during the First World War. During World War II, a war between Japan and the United States took place. During the Korean War in the 1950s, there was a battle between Russia, China and UN forces, ”Choi said. “And even today, the Korean peninsula is divided, from north to south.”

Now, Choi and the province are determined to make it a region of peace.

“When cruise lines come to this region, we can together achieve peace and prosperity,” he said.

The peace cruise project will include stops in Vladivostok, Japan and North Korean ports.

“So far we can go to Vladivostok and Japan from the port of Sokcho. But when North Korea opens, we’ll allow North Korean ports to go whenever we want. I hope that by doing so, the cruise industry will contribute to peace in this region, ”said Choi.

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