Boat service linking South Korea’s Busan and Japan’s Tsushima resumes

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After a three-year suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, the high-speed boat service between South Korea’s port city of Busan and Tsushima, the Japanese island closest to the Korean Peninsula, has resumed on Saturday. The route is operated by two South Korean operators, mainly on weekends, with the number of passengers limited to 100 per sailing. The boat service began in 1999, and the popularity of Tsushima soared when jetfoils entered into use in 2011, linking the two ports with a 70-minute ride. In 2018, a record 410,000 people visited Tsushima from South Korea. However, the number of visitors dropped significantly in 2019 due to the deterioration in bilateral ties.

The resumption of the boat service is welcomed by both South Korean travelers and Tsushima residents. The 63-year-old from Daejeon in the central part of South Korea who boarded a boat from Busan on Saturday morning expressed his excitement of being back after a long while. The Panstar Group, which began serving the Busan-Tsushima route when the route was resumed, hopes to see many people use its service. Yukihiro Yamada, the 59-year-old owner of a restaurant near Hitakatsu port, also pins his hopes on the resumption of the boat service. The Tsushima municipal government intends to consider loosening the limits on the number of passengers while keeping tabs on infection cases.

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