Cruise tourism posts 19% passenger growth in 2013

May 19, 2014 at 14:54

Cruise tourism posts 19% passenger growth in 2013

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 11, 2014 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has reported a 19.35-percent increase in the number of tourists received in different parts of the country through cruise ships.

DOT data showed an aggregate of 41,624 cruise passengers visited the Philippines last year from 23,857 in 2012.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. attributed the upsurge in cruise tourists arrival 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. As a response to this burgeoning demand, the DOT has since geared up its efforts in this once Europe and US dominated market,” Jimenez said.

The DOT is targeting cruise tourism to grow around 20 percent this year or at least sustain the level of growth in 2013.

“We are determined to sustain this interest and grow the cruise market to benefit more of our island destinations,” the tourism chief said.

Last week, 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.

The ship made a maiden call at the Eva Macapagal Passenger Terminal in Manila South Harbor for an overnight stay in Manila as part of a 17-night Southeast Asian voyage that hailed from Hong Kong, Sandakan, Papolo of Sulawesi, Komodo, Bali, and Semarang before finally heading to its last stop in Singapore.

DOT Undersecretary  Maria Victoria Jasmin led other representatives of the agency during the official welcome ceremonies onboard the vessel.

Jasmin said the country’s cruise tourism looks very promising.

“Last year, three luxury liners made their maiden calls on Manila and other top tourist destination shores of the country,” she said.

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

“This growing interest in our country as a port of call should, therefore, fuel more public-private investments between the government and private sector in preparing our tourism gateways,” she said.

Azamara Journey is sailing 12 to 17 night voyages throughout the East and South China seas from January through April 2014, alternating departures from Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Chennai.

Cruise tourism is one of the niche markets being developed by the DOT. This year, 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.



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