By Emmie V. Abadilla
Philippine cruise ship arrivals jumped by almost two thousand per cent as cruise ships docked simultaneously at the Manila’s South Harbor.
The Manila South Harbor, which Asian Terminals, Inc. manages and operates, registered the biggest number of cruise ships docked at the ports, with four – SuperStar Virgo of Star Cruises, Costa Atlantica of Costa Cruises, Amsterdam of Holland America Lines, and Silver Shadow of Silversea Cruises.
As of January, this year, cruise tourism arrivals registered a 1,952.82% increase to 9,156 passengers from 446 passengers in the same period in 2017.
Of the total, more than half of the volume, or 4,520, was recorded in PMO Northern Luzon, with Star Cruises regaining interest in the Port of Currimao as one of its destinations.
The other areas that posted positive cruise tourism arrivals include Coron, Boracay and South Harbor.
“PPA is really bent on equipping major cruise destinations with the minimum requirements to handle cruise ships and slowly put improvements,” explained Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago.
Promotion, as well as improvement in cruise facilities, particularly in areas like Puerto Princesa in Palawan, South Harbor and North Harbor in Manila, Bohol in the Visayas, and Currimao in Northern Luzon, boosted cruise ship arrivals.
“The PPA is continuing its efforts to make port facilities for cruise ships world class,” he noted.
At present, the agency is implementing infrastructure projects in the nation’s major nautical cruise arteries, developing international hubs for cruise liners in Davao, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Metro Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, and Zamboanga.
PPA has also lined up various programs to establish cruise terminals in the Ports of Puerto Princesa, Currimao in Ilocos Norte and Catagbacan in Bohol Province.