The Philippines, which is home to more than 7,600 islands, is aiming to ramp up its cruise tourism industry, Business Times reports.
The country has lagged behind its neighbors in attracting cruise visitors, mainly due to lack of infrastructure.
However, this is changing as more ports are built, and more are recognizing the potential benefits of the growing industry.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said there is “great potential in cruise tourism.”
"While our Asian neighbors have the advantage of regional land connectivity, our archipelago is ideal for cruise tourism,” he said.
Much of the cruise industry is centered around Manila, Boracay, Puerto Princesa. Soon Luzon and Salomague Port in Ilocos Sur province will come online.
In April 2021, Solaire is opening Manila’s first cruise-dedicated port.
"These cruise ports will allow more access to the Philippines and encourage shorter itineraries from north Asian markets like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan," said Bengzon.
"Cruise calls in Manila, and the Philippines in general have been growing quite strongly," added Enrique Razon, chairman of casino resort operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp. "Aside from Manila, we're looking for one cruise ship facility in the north and possibly two in the south."
A number of foreign cruise operators have also been eyeing Asia for expansion, including MSC, Celebrity Cruises, and Virgin Voyages.
Executives from the above cruise operators will be speaking at the ASEAN Gaming Summit 2020, which will be set in Manila in March 2020. See more at www.aseangaming.com.
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