Japan Cruise Lines (JCL) has given a boost to the Philippines by agreement to include the country as a regular port-of-call in 2018.
On the sidelines of the 2017 Philippine Business Mission (PBM) to Japan, which took place from 26-29 June, JCL’s senior managing director, Kenji Yoneda, confirmed that his company is planning to feature the Philippines in its regular cruise itineraries in 2018.
JCL’s Pacific Venus cruise ship first called at Puerto Princesa and Manila in 2015, and visited Bohol, Boracay, Manila and the Hundred Islands in 2016.
“We are happy to announce that we will be deploying the Pacific Venus to the Philippines next year. We hope to receive the usual support for the safe and enjoyable stay of our passengers,” said Yoneda.
Cruise tourism is one of the nine sectors identified in the Philippine government’s National Tourism Development Plan, aimed at improving the country’s competitiveness as a tourist destination. The country already receives regular calls from cruise lines including Royal Caribbean and Star Cruises.
“We are confident that with JCL resuming its operations in the Philippines, visitor arrivals from Japan will notably increase to enable this top four source market to inevitably rise from its present rank,” said Wanda Tulfo-Teo, secretary of the Philippine government’s Department of Tourism (DOT).
“More international cruise operators will find our country lucrative as we go about implementing key measures such as the development of port and shore-side infrastructure, facilitation of business entry and offering more exciting shore excursions, among others.”
International cruise calls to the Philippines have been growing at an average annual rate of 28% over the past four years, reaching 72 in 2016. This year, the Philippines expects to welcome more than 100 port call, bringing in an estimated 122,000 cruise passengers.