SEJONG, May 7 (Korea Bizwire) — The government on Thursday announced a set of measures aimed at developing the country’s marine leisure industry that also focuses on promoting marine activities.
Under the measures, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it will work to more than double the number of leisure yachts and boats to over 30,000 in 2020 from the current 12,985.
Such an increase will help create some 12,000 new jobs and over 1.5 trillion won (US$1.39 billion) in income, according to the maritime ministry.
“The ministry plans to develop the marine leisure industry into a key business sector that will create 12,000 new jobs and a new growth engine for the country’s economy,” it said in a press release.
However, unlike previous measures that mainly sought to build new infrastructure for the industry, such as marina harbors, the latest plan also calls for efforts to promote marine leisure.
To this end, the ministry will transform the country’s marina harbors into places where anyone, without a personal yacht, can still experience and enjoy marine activities.
It will also consider lowering the bar for new yacht rental firms by reducing the minimum size of yachts or boats for rental to 2 tons from the current 5 tons.
This will increase the number of boats currently available for rental services to 2,400 from 800 when the minimum size is at 5 tons, according to the ministry.
The government will also continue working to expand infrastructure for the marine leisure industry.
Currently, there are 32 marina harbors with a combined capacity of 1,750 boats, which represents less than 15 percent of the total 12,985 yachts and boats in the country.
The ministry will work to increase the number of marina harbors and their overall capacity to over 6,000 ships in 2020.
Along with the marine leisure industry, the government will also work to develop the country’s cruise industry.
The cruise industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Asia with the number of people in Asia embarking on a cruise ship tour expected to reach over 7 million in 2020 from 1.37 million in 2013, the ministry said.
Also, the number of foreign tourists arriving in South Korea on cruise ships topped 1 million last year and is expected to reach 3 million in 2020.
“The government measures are aimed at providing timely support for the cruise industry and turning it into a new engine for the country’s economic growth,” the ministry said.
Under its latest measures, the government will build five new cruise ship-only piers by 2016 while also working to improve immigration and customs services for foreign tourists arriving here on cruise ships.