Korea’s GKL banking on casinos on cruise ships to capture visitor growth

South Korean casino operator, Grand Korea Leisure (GKL), affiliated casino operator to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), aims to operate foreigner-only casinos on cruise ships.
The step comes as the National Assembly recently passed a law supporting the cruise industry, set to take effect in July.
GKL officials told Korean media that a consultancy report led to plans to target Chinese tourists currently flooding to Korea, many of whom are travelling by cruise ship.
The consultancy said the involvement of KTO and GKL would meet the goals of developing South Korea’s tourism industry, through new engines for growth.
Draft plans include operating casinos on foreign cruise lines’ ships, or directly setting up a cruise line for the purpose of operating a casino on board.
An earlier attempt in Korea to launch a cruise line by a private company in 2012 failed after it closed a year later.
South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said the numbers of tourists arriving by cruise ships to Korea was growing rapidly from just 153,000 in 2011 to 1.05 million in 2014, with around 90 percent being Chinese.
GKL, the state owned subsidiary of KTO, runs three foreigner-only casinos, under the Seven Luck brand; two in Seoul and one in Busan.