In April, the South Korea-China sea travel routes are expected to recommence operations as the international car ferry services at Incheon Ferry Terminal intend on ending the three-year pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of companies have declared the restart of passenger transport services between Incheon and several Chinese cities and have begun marketing vacation packages, according to a press statement. As a result of an agreement between the governments of China and Korea to boost the number of important destinations, flights between those two nations will also be more readily available.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters in South Korea announced earlier this month that all travel restrictions, including the requirement for mandatory PCR tests for visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, would be lifted. The precise date of the resumption has not yet been announced.
The Incheon Port Authority (IPA), which oversees the international ferry terminal for the port city, is arranging preparations to fully run its duty-free shops, restaurants, and currency exchange offices in addition to its customs, immigration, and quarantine departments.
According to the statement, the three-year gap brought on by the epidemic has severely damaged the ferry industry at the Incheon Ferry Terminal. In 2019, more than 1 million people took automobile ferries to South Korea from 10 Chinese cities, including Qingdao, Dalian, and Tianjin, prior to the pandemic. With all passenger transport stopped since February 2020 in the terminal, terminal and shipping companies have only been transporting cargo, added the statement.
Officials added that the decision to lift travel bans against China and its neighbours was made by the health authorities due to China’s stable trend in new Covid-19 cases for more than a month following the Spring Festival holidays in January and the absence of any indications of the coronavirus variant both inside and outside the country.
By the end of the month, there will be about 200 weekly flights between Korea and China, with flight operations returning to pre-pandemic levels by October, according to a statement from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport at the beginning of March.
There are presently only two destinations Beijing and Shanghai have flights to from Incheon. South Korean flag carrier Korean Air has said that it will be increasing its weekly flying capacity to China from the current 13 flights to 84 by the end of this month. Also, the airline intends to run 99 flights between South Korea and China in the next two months, which is 43 pc more than it was before the pandemic, says the statement.
According to the statement, the other major airline in South Korea, Asiana, has also declared it will raise its weekly flight capacity to China from 10 to 89 before April. The airline will also resume flights to Chinese cities like Guangzhou, Qingdao, Xian, and Tianjin that were cancelled up till now due to Covid-19. Yet the two nations’ tourism revival won’t take off until the Chinese government decides to permit group tours to South Korea and starts giving tourist permits to individuals who want to travel there.