Turning ports into hot spotsCouples take a walk and enjoy the aroma of coffee. Elderly people dance to the music. Children have fun drawing. These scenes may sound like some cultural festival in a city. But they are happening in a port.
The port of Maryang in South Jeolla Province is called the “Naples of Korea” and is known for its picturesque lighthouse and spectacular sunset. Every Saturday from April to October, Maryang Saturday Seafood Market opens here. Saturday concerts, magicians, belly dance shows and local bands’ performances attract residents and tourists alike. Families and friends make fun memories at fishing holes and well-maintained trails.
Short arm octopus and gizzard shad are delicacies of Gyeokpo Port in North Jeolla Province. Since a marina was built in December 2011, it has become a multifunctional fishing port frequented by yacht lovers. A coffee festival is held every year in Gangneung, which also has leisure and tourism facilities such as cruises and a yacht marina.
Lately, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries established the 10 Ports 10 Colors Project to revitalize fishing villages. By 2020, more specialized ports will be developed for tourism, leisure, resorts and culture. In Wido Port in Buan, North Jeolla, and Neungpo Port in Geoje, South Gyeongsang, which are known as fishing spots, fishing parks and resort facilities will be constructed to offer an enjoyable fishing experience.
The project will create more than 1,000 new jobs in fishing towns by 2020 and aim to create 400 billion won ($349 million) in economic benefits. Seaports are not just bases of the fisheries industry but a place to create a new source of income for the locals and an attractive destination for urbanites on vacation.
*Vice Minister of Oceans and Fisheries