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PHL gains ground in international cruise tourism

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MANILA  The Philippines has finally started making waves in the international cruise tourism scene as it expands the list of its port destinations to attract more sea-based travelers, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).


In his State of the Philippine Tourism Report from 2010 to 2014, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. disclosed the country was able to draw in 32,382 tourists, who were on board 54 luxury liners, which docked in local ports last year.


This was a far cry from the 9,770 tourists (from 10 ships) in 2011, 13,466 tourists (16 ships) in 2012, and the 19,319 tourists (34 ships) in 2013, who visited the country.


“The number of passengers for 2014 increased by 67.62 percent compared to 2013. What does that indicate? The ships arrivals are not only getting more frequent, but also getting larger,” Jimenez said.


Jimenez attributed the country’s booming cruise tourism to the new sites, which have drawn the interest of international cruise companies like Subic Bay, Puerto Princesa, and Boracay.


Other areas which DOT marked as “priority ports for cruising” are Apari, Cebu, Coron, El Nido, Tagbilaran City in Bohol, La Union, Limasawa, Romblon, Siargao, Sibuyan and Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan.


Costa Cruises, Star Cruises and Royal Caribbean were among the cruise operators whose ships made stops in the country.


Manila, however, remains the most popular port of call for foreign cruise ships, when visiting the country.


Jimenez noted this was positive development for local tourism since travelers engaged in the so-called cruise tourism usual spend more compared to usual tourists.


“To capitalize on the country’s coastal resources and deliver strong growth by increasing the average length of stay and expenditure, the Department prioritizes program this for development of cruise tourism,” Jimenez said.


By the end of the year, he said they expect 66 cruise liners will visit the country bringing with it around 34,000 tourists.

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