On Oct. 20, at 1:00 in the afternoon, the Italian Costa Fourtuna dropped anchor in Jeju harbor. More than 2,500 passengers disembarked and Jeju welcomed its one millionth cruise passenger this year.
Over ten years in the making, this benchmark in Jeju’s cruise industry was achieved when a Chinese couple - Mr. Tao Jin-guang and Mrs. Liao Zhao-si -stepped off the gangplank.
Mr. Tao Jin-guang (71) said, “I'm already on a dream tour to Jeju. I didn’t think I could be any more excited and thankful! But now this. The one millionth passenger!”
Mr. Tao and Mrs. Liao received flower necklaces and complimentary plane tickets back to Shanghai in celebration of their auspicious arrival.
It all began in 2004, when the first international cruise ships started to come to Jeju. That year only 753 Japanese passengers visited the island. By 2010, it was 55,000; and last year, it was a staggering 620,000.
Given this kind of growth, it’s no surprise that Jeju achieved such a landmark.
Reaching the one million toursits in a year mark is being advertised as an opportunity to share the wealth with the people of Jeju. The Jeju government announced that it would focus on distributing financial benefits from this fast-growing industry. It’s a bold qualitative growth policy for the citizens of this island aimed at a more balanced distribution of profits.
Kim Ui-geun, director of the Jeju Cruise Industry said, “One million cruise passengers translates into over five-hundred billion Won in economic benefits for this island, and we need a more elaborate trickle down effect for the local economy.”
Director Kim went on to say that, “In the future, we need to streamline our current system to make receiving travelers a smoother, easier process. For instance, minimizing the time spent in customs, changing patterns to accommodate more individual tourists, and additional infrastructure to support tourists when they travel here.”
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