The Philippines and Thailand will strengthen their partnership to harness the huge potential of the cruise industry.
On the sidelines of bilateral talks on Thursday during the week-long Asean Tourism Forum 2016 in Manila, the two countries agreed to work together to promote and invest more in maritime tourism.
“We are now launching maritime tourism in Thailand. Next month, we are going to have a super yacht in Phuket. This is taking off in Thailand and we would like to invest more in maritime tourism not only just for Thailand but also for the countries around us, including the Philippines,” Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told reporters after the bilateral meeting.
“Super yacht is a big boat and we hope that we can become one of the main marine hubs. So we hope that the yacht will not only be docked at Phuket but be travelling to certain places like the Philippines and maybe Cambodia and the rest of the region,” she said.
“We have a great opportunity because in our region, the boat can sail almost all year long.
And because in terms of climate, we are a bit better than the Mediterranean, because in the winter time, people are worried about the bitter cold. But the climate here is milder, so meaning there are more months that people can enjoy the trip. So this is one of the things that we can do,” the Thailand tourism minister added.
“But besides that, last year we started Thailand-Myanmar already… Chiang Mai, Mandalay, Bagan, Mipido and back to Bangkok,” she said.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said the Philippines will benefit greatly from the partnership with Thailand.
“Thailand, they already have a growing cruise business. In fact, the place along Vietnam, Malaysia, that corridor is already actually a business corridor. But looking forward and looking at the future, they’re seeing that the Philippines and Singapore, Hong Kong, China and South Korea are beginning to look at each other. They could end up putting a cap to their business. So business people are saying what if we have an alliance with the Philippines,” he also told reporters.
Jimenez said he and the Thai tourism chief are keen on a single Asean destination.
“Of course, yes. Once you become like Western Europe, then inevitably, the Philippines becomes one of the beneficiaries because people will tend to share their market,” he explained.
“A visit to Thailand is a jump-off point to the rest of Southeast Asia,” Jimenez said.