The South Korean government said Thursday that it will soon begin work on the modernization and expansion of a major port south of Seoul in an effort to meet the growing number of Chinese tourists.
The program also seeks to expand the capacity of the passenger terminal at the Pyeongtaek port, located some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
The move comes as the number of international tourists using the seaport has been growing steadily, jumping nearly 13 percent in 2014 alone to some 490,000, it said.
A new design for the international port will be completed before the year's end. The construction of a new terminal and piers is expected to cost 185.6 billion won ($169.8 million) before their completion in 2019.
"The new design will set the location and size of the passenger terminal and new piers to meet the growing number of passengers and cargo at the port while also reducing any inconvenience facing the passengers and ship owners," the ministry said in a press release.
Currently, there are five passenger ferries operating out of the Pyeongtaek port, connecting the country's gateway to five different cities in China, including Yentai and Weihai. (Yonhap)