South Korea Studying Cruise Line

South Korean casino operator Grand Korea Leisure Co. Ltd. is exploring the feasibility of cruise ships to draw more Chinese patrons. South Korea has no domestic cruise line, but more than 1 million people traveled to Korea by ship last year_up by almost one-third over 2013.

Close to 90 percent of cruisers were Chinese

South Korean-based casino operator Grand Korea Leisure Co. Ltd. may establish a domestic cruise line to serve Chinese tourists. The company has hired a consulting firm to study the plan, according to the Korean Times. South Korea currently has no domestic cruise operator.

“We’ll consider various options, such as operating casinos on foreign cruise lines’ ships or directly setting up cruise lines,” an unnamed Grand Korea Leisure official told the Times.

The South Korean government has approved new rules to promote the cruise industry due to the rapid increase in tourists who travel to Korea by ship, reported GGRAsia. In 2014 alone, the number grew by almost one-third to more than 1 million people. Of that number, close to 90 percent were Chinese. Grand Korea Leisure, which is part of the Korea Tourism Organization, now runs three foreigners-only casinos in South Korea under the “Seven Luck” brand. Two properties are based in Seoul, with the third in the southern port city of Busan.

Earlier this month, South Korean authorities said they would approve two more foreigners-only casino resorts in addition to two already announced. South Korea currently has 16 casinos for foreigners, and one for locals.