Uptick in Busan cruise tourism drives up demand for local retailers

2023.09.22 12:49:01 | 2023.09.22 14:48:31

[Courtesy of Shinsegae Department Store]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of Shinsegae Department Store]



South Korean retailers in Busan could see another heyday as an increasing number of cruise ships enter Busan Port. Sales at department stores and duty-free shops in the city are particularly expected to surge as cruise ships from China resume entering the port from 2024 onwards.

According to the Busan Port Authority (BPA) on Thursday, a total of 106 cruise ships are scheduled to enter Busan Port this year, with 108 cruise ships arriving at the port in 2019 just before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. The number of cruise ships arriving at the port has recovered to pre-pandemic levels on the back of the Hallyu craze, including K-pop. There are 157 cruise ships scheduled to enter the port next year, and Busan is preparing for a surge in demand from rising cruise ship tourism, the BPA said. In particular, the number of cruise ships sailing from China will increase dramatically from next year. In general, a Chinese big-spending tourist tends to spend three to four times more than a Japanese tourist. There are no cruise ships coming from China currently, but the number will increase to 58 next year.

One of the retailers most benefiting from the rise is Shinsegae Centum City, a Busan branch of Shinsegae Department Store. Shinsegae Centum City is the world’s largest department store and is well known overseas. Located in Haeundae, the area most visited by foreign tourists, the department store has been enjoying a boost in demand this year. According to Shinsegae Corp., sales from foreigners jumped 481 percent during the first eight months of this year from a year earlier. It is an explosive growth even after the base effect of the pandemic’s shift to endemic is considered, the company said.

Young fashion store Hyper Ground, which completed renovation in February, has been at the center of attracting foreign tourists for the department store. It features Korean fashion brands that are also popular overseas and have recently been the main driver of sales.

By Kim Gyu-sik and Choi Jieun

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