The Department of Tourism (DOT) hopes to establish the Philippines as a “regional cruise hub” in Asia, as it anticipates that the number of cruise ships docking in the nation would exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2023.
“We will develop the Philippines as a major regional cruise center in Asia, providing not only cruise ship experiences but also crew training, crewing, cruise line business outsourcing, and cruise ship maintenance services in Asia,” said Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco in a statement released on February 15.
Frasco revealed, after hundreds of passengers from the cruise liner Silver Spirit disembarked in Manila, that 139 cruise ships are projected to port in the Philippines in 2020, a 36.27 percent increase from 2019. Boracay is preparing for the arrival of at least 18 cruise ships by 2023.
The Silver Spirit, carrying 317 passengers and 415 staff, was the third cruise ship to arrive in the nation for the year, following the Seabourn Encore with 512 passengers and 482 personnel and the Silver Shadow with 320 passengers and 283 workers.
Frasco anticipates the arrival of additional cruise ships after the epidemic effectively curtailed leisure travel for over three years.
The Department of Transportation observed that cruise ships are a significant source of tourism-related employment, with Filipino seafarers and tourist frontliners comprising roughly half of the crews of the three cruise lines that have landed in the nation.
During a welcoming event for the Silver Spirit on Wednesday, Frasco stated, “We are extremely delighted that this cruise, which hosts passengers of many countries, is receiving the Filipino brand of hospitality.”
With cruise ships set to visit 46 places in the Philippines, the DOT is also anticipating an increase in cruise tourist income.
Frasco projected that 117,000 passengers visiting Manila would generate “millions of dollars in income” based on the average amount spent every cruise call of $100 per person.
“Although these may be approximated revenues, this demonstrates not just the influence on national government income but also on local government revenues. They will also visit Apo Reef, Balabac Island, Biri Island, Bohol, Boracay, of course our crown jewel, Claveria, Capul Island, Cebu and the center Philippines, Coron in Palawan, and Puerto Princesa,” Frasco explained.
In addition to the island attractions, 34 cruise ships are slated to arrive in Manila, which is likely to attract many tourists.
“Manila is the center of history and culture in our nation, and it’s about time that all regions of the city, not only Intramuros, Luneta, and Binondo, are explored. This is an opportunity for the Department of Tourism and the City of Manila to collaborate, so it’s a tremendous opportunity for us,” said Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna during the Silver Spirit’s welcoming celebration.
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