CRUISE ship tourism grew by more than 50 percent in the past five years, a development the government intends to bank on by putting in place a strategy for the tourist-cruising sector to further boost growth.
“In the last past five years tourist-cruising has grown at a rate of 52.5 percent,” Tourism Assistant Secretary Maria Lourdes Japson said during a press conference of the Star Cruises.
“For 2017, we have recorded 117 port calls already in the Philippines, Japson noted, citing the 20 dockings of a cruise in Manila alone from March 19 to May 23, 2017.
While further strengthening the well-known “Turquoise Triangle”—Manila-Boracay-Palawan—under the “Cruise Strategy,” the Department of Tourism has identified potential destinations in northern Luzon that can easily be reached by cruise ships from East Asia within a day.
“As a key element of our strategy, we are determined to build new dedicated cruise facilities, most especially in Manila,” Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr., who heads the Cruise Tourism Development Committee for the Philippines, earlier, said.
“A superior cruise port and terminal in the capital, with extensive airlift and ground facilities, creates a compelling reason for large ships to spend time in the Philippines. Once here, they can achieve outstanding port density with efficient cruising speeds,” he said.
The Star Cruises also announced the first homeport deployment of the cruise ship Superstar Virgo to Manila.
“Star Cruises was the first major cruise line to recruit Filipinos 23 years ago for our cruise ships, and now we are pleased to be the first international cruise line to welcome Filipinos on board Superstar Virgo as our guests from our homeport in Manila,” said Ang Moo Lim, president of Star Cruises.
“Worldwide, nearly 25 million people have enjoyed a cruise in 2016 and we are extending this opportunity to Filipinos—to join their ranks from Manila and at an affordable price,” he added.