PHL cruise tourism looks ‘very promising’- DOT Exec

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, April 10 (PNA) -- The growing interest of international cruise lines in the Philippines as a port of call should fuel more public-private investments in preparing the country's tourism gateways, a tourism official said.

Tourism Undersecretary Atty. Maria Victoria Jasmin expressed enthusiasm that Philippine cruise tourism would be ‘very promising’ in the near future given significant feats the industry has achieved in the beginning of the year.

Last April 2, the DOT welcomed over a thousand guests, officers, and crew aboard the posh Azamara Journey, one of the luxury boutique-style vessels of the Azamara Club Cruises fleet.

In January this year, MV Costa Victoria of the world renowned Costa Cruises made its maiden call on Manila after visiting Puerto Princesa and Boracay.

Last year, three luxury liners having made maiden calls on Manila and other top tourist destination shores of the country.

“An aggregate of 41,624 cruise passengers were received by different ports of the country last year, reflecting a 19.35 percent increase over the 23,857 recorded in 2012,” Jasmin said in a statement.

She said that the DOT attributes the upsurge to the aggressive market development efforts and government-private sector partnership, which encouraged more cruise companies to include the Philippines in their offerings.

“This signals that the country is finally growing to become a preferred cruise destination in the region,” Jasmin noted.

“As a response to this burgeoning demand, the DOT has since geared up its efforts in this once Europe and US dominated market. And we are determined to sustain this interest and grow the cruise market to benefit more of our island destinations,” she added.

According to the DOT, cruise tourism is one of the niche markets being developed by the agency.

This year, the DOT noted that the country is expected to welcome a total of 23 vessel calls, five of which will make their maiden calls on Manila and several top tourist destination shores, bringing an estimated 24,000 passengers. (PNA)
FPV/ANP