Select ports to be developed for cruise tourism

By Ted P. Torres, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 18 2015 07:39 AM | Updated as of Mar 18 2015 03:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) is working with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to develop selected ports across the country for cruise tourism.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said government has identified the ports in Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Boracay, Davao, Bohol, Cebu and Zamboanga for the project.

“The demand is so strong that we have to work double time with our partners to ensure that the arrival experience (of foreign tourists) is as seamless as possible,” Bengzon said.

He said airport upgrading and improvements must likewise come hand-in-hand with seaport development.

He said government has started the development of a passenger terminal in Mactan and the Kalibo Airport in Aklan.

“Clark is also undergoing some improvements as it positions itself not only for the luxury market but also for other full service carriers that may be encouraged to fly into the country,” the DOT official added.

The 2014 WEF Global Competitiveness Index indicates that the Philippines’ port infrastructure ranks 101 of the 144 covered by the study. That places the country as the lowest among Asean behind Singapore (ranked second), Malaysia (19), Thailand (54), Indonesia (77), and Vietnam (88).

According to the tourism department, sea tourist arrivals, mostly via cruises, rose to 52,820 passengers in 2014 from 41,624 in 2013 and 23,857 in 2012. Cruise tourism is one of the strategic tourism products identified under DOT’s National Tourism Development Plan.

Under the Aquino administration, a total of 97 projects amounting to P1.39 trillion were approved, 81 of which are critical infrastructure programs and projects, with a total cost of P1.24 trillion.

Government continues to invest heavily on infrastructure that will transform the country into a desirable market for tourism, trade and investments in the global arena. By 2016, infrastructure spending will amount to five percent of gross domestic product from the 3.4 percent registered in 2014.

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