Published on : Wednesday, June 20, 2018
The Department of Tourism Spokesman and Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito C. Bengzon Jr. said that they expect 190 cruise calls and 329,000 passengers. The growth has been quite phenomenal.
In 2017 total cruise calls in the Philippines reached 140, with passengers at 195,751. This exceeded that year’s projection of 105 port calls with 117,000 passengers, by 63 percent. He said with Boracay Island closed until October 26, 2018, visiting cruise ships have been docking at Manila, Subic and Puerto Princesa.
From June 6 to 11, the MS Ovation of the Seas by Royal Caribbean made a port call in Subic and Manila, carrying 4,700 mostly Chinese passengers from Hong Kong.
The passengers were taken on a “Best of the Philippines” tour, which included day trips to Las Casas de Acuzar in Bataan, Intramuros in Manila and Tagaytay.
The DOT is targeting visitor arrivals via cruises to reach 456,164 passengers with 402 port calls by 2022, the last year of President Duterte’s term of office, from 47,098 visitor arrivals via 56 port calls in 2016.
The popular Star Cruises has been home-porting in Manila since 2017. In March 2018, it returned, offering five night cruises between the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan aboard the Super Star Virgo until May 9. This month, it also offered a five-night cruise between Manila, Kaohsiung, and Hong Kong, as well as a two-night cruise between Manila and Keelung.
Manila was also included in last year’s itinerary of Dream Cruises, the luxury cruise line of Star Cruises’ parent, Genting Cruise Lines, bringing passengers from Manila to Boracay and Hong Kong for a three- to five-night cruise. There are no itineraries planned this year, however.
The establishment of a cruise port terminal in Manila is seen increasing the chances of the Philippines to be seen as a major cruise destination.
This developed as Sureste Properties Inc., led by business tycoon Enrique K. Razon, is seeking all the necessary approvals and clearances to establish the Solaire Cruise and Yachting Center (SCYC) in Parañaque City. Among the approvals needed are from the Philippine Ports Authority and concerned local government units, according to lawyer Joy Bulauitan, assistant COO of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza).