5 MARCH 2018, MANILA—Philippine cruise ship arrivals posted unprecedented figures in the last 12 months capped by the simultaneous docking of cruise ships at the Manila’s South Harbor.
On Monday, the Manila South Harbor, managed and operated by Asian Terminals, Inc., registered the biggest number of cruise ships docked at the ports with four, namely, SuperStar Virgo of Star Cruises, Costa Atlantica of Costa Cruises, Amsterdam of Holland America Lines, and Silver Shadow of Silversea Cruises.
According to Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago, the continuous hike in cruise ship arrivals are testaments to the initiatives put into place by different government agencies like the PPA, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Transportation, among others.
“On the part of the PPA, we have been injecting so much effort to improve the cruise facilities of our ports particularly the areas like Puerto Princesa in Palawan, South Harbor and North Harbor in Manila, Bohol in the Visayas, and Currimao in Northern Luzon,” Santiago said.
“The more than 1000% increase in the number of cruise tourism passengers suggest that we are slowly reaping the benefits of those initiatives,” Santiago stressed.
“The direction of the current administration is to further harvest the global tourism industry and PPA is continuing its efforts to make port facilities for cruise ships world class,” Santiago added.
Currenlty, PPA is carrying out several infrastructure projects in key areas to support the booming cruise industry aimed at developing international hubs for cruise liners like Davao, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Metro Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, and Zamboanga. These make up the nation’s major nautical cruise arteries. It has also lined up various port programs for the development of cruise terminals. These include the Ports of Puerto Princesa, Currimao in Ilocos Norte and Catagbacan in Bohol Province.
As of January of this year, cruise tourism arrivals registered an increase of 1,952.82% to 9,156 passsengers from only 446 in January of last year. Of the total, more than half of the volume or 4,520 was recorded in PMO Northern Luzon in view of the regained interest of Star Cruises at the Port of Currimao as one of its cruise routes.
The other areas that posted positive cruise tourism arrivals include Coron, Boracay and South Harbor.
“PPA is really bent in equipping major cruise destinations with the minimum requirements to handle cruise ships and slowly put improvements thereon,” Santiago explained.