▲ Chairman Kim Eui-Keun has his sights set on the whole Asian region. Photo by Darren Southcott
“When people think of cruising, we want them to think of Jeju,” says Kim Eui-Keun in his Jeju City office, a map of Asia’s cruise routes pinned to the wall. As the chairman of the Organizing Com-mittee, Kim has seen growth in support from across the region for 2014 Asia Cruise Forum JEJU, following the inau-gural event last year.
“Last year we just had support from Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, but this year support is coming from the central government and several cruise lines.” he said.
The Jeju International University professor also hopes that the benefits to the province can be maximized by marketing the forum as “Made in Jeju,” one of 10 such events to be held over the year. The potential for success is indi-cated by the recent exporting of Wind Energy Asia to Mongolia earlier this year.
“This can become Jeju’s own brand, magnifying its effect on the province. I am thinking of developing 10 per year, to be held every month or so. We need to show that the province is developing these events to differentiate us from competitors in the region,” he said.
Last year’s Cruising Asia 2013 led to the announcement of the Jeju Declaration, which Kim says has boosted the local industry, particularly through the forma-tion of the Asian Cruise Leaders Network. There have also been other benefits, rooted in the business meetings that took place at the Jeju Grand Hotel in October.
“We see now that other nations are also responding more positively as we approach this year’s event. I already mentioned the increased funding, but also during this year’s forum we will hold the Asian Cruise Terminal Association (ACTA) annual meeting and also the Korean government’s Cruise Association and Cruise Lines Meeting. Both of these were discussed at meetings last year,” he said.
“We need all the companies and ports and all the sectors working in the industry together in one place,” Kim continued. “The forum is the perfect opportunity to discuss the important issues and reach solutions. This is the best way for Jeju to ensure it is the center of the marine generation.”
With Jeju already the number one calling port among 17 countries and 117 ports in Asia, Kim predicts this rise to continue for some time yet.
“By 2016 we expect 1 million cruise passengers calling at Jeju, up from the current 500,000. This year is also set to break records, again, with 320,000 passengers having arrived by July. I don’t expect numbers to start to level out until 2020, when over 2 million cruise passengers could be arriving,” said Kim. “Jeju can again be the center of the Marine Silk Road.”
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