THE Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 is looking forward to more cruise ships making ports of call in the region.
DOT 7 Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano cited the region’s strategic location being at the center of the Philippines and blessed with rich and natural attractions as an ideal port of call for international cruise liners.
“With more than 1,707 islands and being consistently part of the best islands in the world lists, we have more to offer, whether it be beach, food, culture or history,” said Tamano in a statement.
Cruise tourism is one of the priority areas for development under the National Cruise Tourism Development Plan.
Last Jan. 15, Cebu welcomed 1,100 Japanese retirees on board M/V Peace Boat, which made a brief stop in Cebu. The tourists explored many tourist sites and attractions in the city and went as far as Carcar City for a countryside tour.
M/V Peace Boat’s home port is Kobe, Japan. After Cebu, it sailed to Bali, Indonesia, Australia and Oceania.
Cruise tourism is one of the nine product portfolios identified in the DOT’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) that will enhance the competitiveness of the country as a tourist destination in the Asia Pacific.
The other products are nature-based; cultural, sun and beach; MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions); leisure and entertainment; diving and marine sports; health, wellness and retirement; and, educational tourism.
“To lure more cruise liners to the Philippines especially the big cruise ships, we must be at par with international standards,” said Tamano.
In a separate report, Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is pushing for the construction of cruise ports in major coastal provinces of the country.
“If the cruise ports are constructed, the Philippines will further open its gateway for more Chinese tourists,” said the former president.
Arroyo identified Poro, Subic Bay, Mariveles, Manila, Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, and Davao as the possible sites of these cruise ports.
According to the DOT, international cruise calls to the Philippines have been growing at an average rate of 27.8 percent over the past years, with 56 calls in 2014, 70 calls in 2015, and 72 calls in 2016. (KOC)