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[ASEAN-Korea summit] Busan aims to be global hub of shipping and tourism

Ahead of the commemorative summit between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations members that opens Monday, the host city of Busan is seeking to attain its goal of rising as a global hub of shipping and tourism.

Busan is the nation’s biggest port city and the main sea gateway. The port in Busan was ranked the sixth-busiest container harbor last year, handling 21.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo, and the second-to-largest in the volume of transshipment traffic, according to Busan officials.

In August, the Maritime Ministry introduced measures to expand Busan to a mega port capable of accommodating a 25,000-TEU carrier. The ministry plans to add 21 berths in the coastal areas of Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, just west of Busan, where the city’s new port is expected to be built. Construction of infrastructure, including a ship repair complex and an liquefied natural gas bunker terminal, are also in the works. The Busan port holds 268 regular shipping lanes calling at the harbor weekly and ranked third in lane connectivity according to the index released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development this year.

Busan New Port (Yonhap)
Busan New Port (Yonhap)

In cooperation with the Trade Ministry and Maritime Ministry, the municipal government has continued efforts to develop the city’s port hinterlands. An amendment to lower the doors into the industrial complexes for export-only manufacturers was submitted to the National Assembly. If passed, the bill is expected to expand high-value-added business of agriculture and livestock -- such as coffee beans and dairy products -- to hinterland areas.

A favorite getaway domestic destination for Koreans, Busan also boasts a splendor of travel spots embracing both the simplicity of nature and the splendor of the city.

Haeundae, though packed with people in the summer, is worth the visit to observe the shoreline of the southeast of the peninsula. Jagalchi Market, where all sorts of seafood can be found at its freshest state, and Gamcheon Culture Village, where colorful houses built in the 1950s line steep streets, are just a couple of Busan’s classic attractions. A glance of the city’s night scenery from the bridge Gwangandaegyo, stretching over the sea, leaves one an unforgettable memory.

Events and festivities of all sorts are also held in the city year-round. Busan is the host city for the Busan International Film Festival and One Asia Festival, South Korea’s biggest annual festivals of film and K-pop, respectively. Firework festivals and sand festivals garnering tens of thousands of guests are just some of the events to enjoy.

International events are also taking place here. In October, the Ladies Professional Golf Championship and Asia Trails Conference was held in Busan. The port city is making a bid to host the World Expo 2030, which is expected to produce an economic effect worth 43 trillion won ($36.5 billion), according to the city officials.

By Choi Ji-won (