INCHEON, Aug. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea will promote a new tourism product that allows foreigners to visit the two Koreas on a single cruise as part of efforts to promote inter-Korean economic exchanges, a public enterprise here said Monday.
The Incheon Port Authority (IPA) said that it will push for foreign cruise ships to call at both South and North Korean ports ahead of the opening of the nation’s largest cruise ship terminal in Incheon, about 50 km west of Seoul, in April next year.
Under the project, the IPA will enable foreign tourists to visit South and North Korea at the same time by leading foreign cruise ships at Incheon to make additional calls at the North’s ports like Nampho and Haeju.
IPA officials said successive port calls at Incheon and Nampho, about 50 km west of the North’s capital Pyongyang, will greatly appeal to foreign cruise tourists.
In January 2016, a Chinese cruise operator based in Shandong Province unsuccessfully pushed to launch a new cruise travel service linking China’s Qingdao, Nampho and Incheon due to disapproval from the South Korean government.
The operator had planned to introduce a 24,000-ton-class cruise ship capable of carrying 920 passengers and 350 crew members for the service and set the price at 2,299 yuan (about 378,000 won) per person.
From 2002 to 2011, the two Koreas ran a regular cargo ship service in the Yellow Sea between Incheon and Nampho.
Incheon’s new cruise ship terminal capable of handling 5,000 to 6,000 tourists at the same time is expected to bring considerable changes to the nation’s marine tourism market.
Meanwhile, the IPA said it has also decided to push to modernize the port of Nampho and import North Korean sand collected near Haeju as part of inter-Korean economic exchanges.
To that end, the corporation plans to conduct a joint inter-Korean study on the North’s port infrastructures and sea routes.
“In the past, the Incheon-Nampho route accounted for 60 percent of inter-Korean trade. Incheon and Nampho have a similarity as the gateway to each other’s capital,” an IPA executive said.
“We’ll make sufficient preparations for the resumption of full-scale inter-Korean economic exchanges.”