Cruise ships to bring in tourists

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Sunday, December 8, 2013


MORE tourists are expected to visit the Philippines in the next two years via cruise ships, the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 said on Friday.

Some 23 cruise lines are expected to make a port of call in the country next year, DOT assistant secretary and Market Development Group head Benito Bengzon Jr. said in a press statement.

The DOT said this is an increase from this year’s 17 cruise ships that visited various destinations in the Philippines including Malapascua Island, Cebu City and Bohol. The incoming 23 cruise lines are expected to bring in more than 23,000 tourists to more than 10 destinations in the country, including the province of Bohol.

Good news

MS Europa II, a cruise liner operated by Hapag-Lloyd, is scheduled to make a port call in Tagbilaran City in January and March next year.

DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo said this is a welcome news for the region that was badly-hit by an earthquake and super typhoon.

“It is heartening to know that in spite of the calamities we faced this year, tourists are still coming to visit our islands, most especially the province of Bohol,” said Montecillo.

She said that after the earthquake, Bohol tourism is struggling to find its pace as fears of aftershocks still reverberates. She said the arrival of MS Europa II in Bohol will help restore confidence in the province’s tourism.

“If this will materialize, it will help revive tourism in Bohol,” said Cenelyn Manguilimotan, president of Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu. She hopes the cruise ship will also visit other islands especially, those affected by typhoon like Bantayan, Camotes and Malapascua.

“This is wonderful news,” said tourism advocate Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, in a separate interview.

“We just need to make sure that infrastructure is ready and the accompanying tours and services are ready to welcome these guests. The cruise ship market is relatively new to us and has a different travel dynamics to what we are used to, so we need to study and tailor-make attractions and offerings for this market,” said Aldeguer, president and chief executive of The Islands Group.

Advisory

Cruise tourism is identified as one of the country’s strategic tourism products identified under the National Tourism Development Plan.

To make their arrivals in the Philippines more unique, fun and memorable, the DOT said it will extend welcome reception and farewell activities to every arriving cruise ships in the country.

Meanwhile, in a travel advisory issued over the weekend, DOT 7 announced that Clarin Bridge in Loay, Bohol is now open to all traffic. Abatan Bridge, on the other hand, is open to light vehicles. The Bohol Countryside Tour has also resumed its normal route.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 09, 2013.

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