The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) completed its first Cruise Tourism Development Strategy under assistance of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ted Blamey, principal of CHART Management Consultants was tapped by USAID and DOT to lead the team in undertaking an extensive field work, interviews, analysis, and direction-setting in 2015 to finalize a cruise strategy. Joining him were CHART’s associates, Captain Luigi Nappa and Rod Davies.
In 2015, the Philippines attracted 52 port calls for an 18% rise from last year’s total of 44. Cruise passenger volume also rose to 69,802 in 2015, up 16% from 60,183 passengers in full-year 2014. The growth in cruise tourism in the country is attributed to strong support from government and private sectors, as well as enthusiasm of major cruise lines to visit not only one island, but several islands across the Philippine archipelago.
“As a key element of the strategy, we are determined to build new dedicated cruise facilities, especially in Manila. A cruise port and terminal in the capital, with its extensive airlift and ground facilities, will create a compelling reason for large ships to spend time in the Philippines,” said undersecretary Benito C Bengzon, Jr, who heads the newly formed Cruise Tourism Committee for the Philippines.
The cruise strategy also identified developments in the Turquoise Triangle links popular destinations of Manila, Boracay, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
“We are confident that this comprehensive strategy and associated action plans will set a course for the Philippines to become a much more prominent cruise destination in the future. The strategy fits perfectly into the national tourism development plan,” said tourism secretary Ramon R Jimenez, Jr, who is championing the new direction within the Philippine government.