|▲ Cruise passengers disembark at Jeju port adding to the amazing industry growth. Photo courtesy Jeju Tourism Association
The Asia Cruise Forum 2014 Jeju was held Aug. 27-29 as the island rode a wave of optimism in the cruise sector.
Self-belief in Jeju’s potential is nothing new. Without the self-belief of the people and authorities, Jeju may never have received its UNESCO triple crown or New 7 Wonders of Nature title, all richly coveted. The believers proved that Jeju can carve out its own place in the world.
Jeju is continuing to lead and became the first host for Asia’s premier international cruise forum in 2012, with this summer’s forum being the third. Kim Eui Keun, Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Asia Cruise Forum 2014 Jeju exudes this confidence when he predicts that the island will become one of the globe’s premier port of calls and outlined the projected growth.
In 2011 there were just 2.4 million cruise tourists in Asia and this is projected to rise to 3.7 million by 2017, and 7 million should be plying Asia’s seaways by 2020.
Jeju, already the number one port of call in Asia, is at the center of this growth, both economically and geographically.
But leadership is about more than leading, it is about unifying. This is why this conference sought to bring the market together in unison, emphasizing knowledge exchange, partnership and networking.
The delegates will gathered under the slogan “New Wave of Asia Cruise Tourism,” and the forum is essential for the expansion of Asian cruise tourism.
The 2014 Asia Cruise Forum Jeju also included the regular general meeting of ACTA (Asia Cruise Terminal Association) alongside small-scale conferences, business meetings and promotional booths.
The forum provided a unique platform for networks of peers and industry insiders to build an Asian cruise hub on Jeju through fruitful cooperative relationships and the 3rd Korea Cruise Association (Government) & Cruise Lines Meeting was held as well as the ACLN Annual Conference and International Marine Tourism Seminar (Tourism Academia).
Jeju is well on its way to being positioned as the hub port of the region.
Jeju clearly doesn’t want to go it alone. Professor Kim Dong-Jun of Jeju National University states that the cruise industry can become the new East Asian Marine Silk Road, no less.
The greatest legacy of the Silk Road is exchange and cooperation, as cultures as diverse as Rome, Persia, India and China infused each other through trade. Advances in technology and the flowering of the arts were made possible by the simple acts of travel, trade and cooperation.
These are lofty goals, but Jeju has set its sights high before, and succeeded. As the 1,000 or so delegates gathered at the Jeju Grand Hotel under the slogan “The Opportunities and Challenges of Asia Cruise Tourism” chimed well with industry optimism and concentrated minds on the goal ahead.
Hosted by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the forum was another landmark in regional collaboration. It was organized by Jeju Tourism Organization and Creativity Institute and participating cruise operators included Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines; Carnival Corporation & Plc; Costa Crociere; Star Cruises; and Princess Cruises.
While there is assuredness in Asia’s future role in the cruise market, it is essential to bring the region together and steer the path toward future success. The Asia Cruise Forum 2014 Jeju is essential to further this growth.