On the sidelines of the 2017 Philippine Business Mission (PBM) to Japan, the Philippines scored positive in engaging Japan Cruise Lines (JCL) to include the country as a regular port of call in 2018.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo first thanked JCL for bringing Pacific Venus to Puerto Princesa and Manila in November 2015 and to Bohol, Boracay, Manila and the Hundred Islands in November 2016.
Mr. Kenji Yoneda, JCL Senior Managing Director, enthused that their company is once again interested in including the Philippines in their regular cruise itinerary in 2018.
JCL is the leading cruise lines in Japan, and has so far been the sole liner which has brought passengers to the Philippines that are predominantly Japanese, while its Pacific Venus Ship carries 600 passengers.
“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.
Teo said, “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.”
Cruise tourism is one of the nine product portfolios identified in the DOT’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) that will enhance the competitiveness of the country as a tourist destination in the Asia-Pacific region. Also, with the National Cruise Tourism Strategy completed last year and by the ASEAN Cruise Brand, local and multi-country initiatives in the region will be properly guided.
The Philippines has had regular calls from huge vessels of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd (RCCL), Star Cruises and from other international liners for smaller expedition cruises.
“I am confident that 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,” the tourism chief said.
Latest statistics show that international cruise calls to the Philippines have been growing at an average rate of 27.8 percent over the past four years, from 56 calls in 2014 to 70 calls the following year, and 72 calls in 2016. This year, the Philippines projects over a hundred port call bringing in an estimated 122,000 cruise passengers.