The Filipino government has earmarked Cebu as the next hub for international cruise ships.
Director of the Department of Tourism Rowena Montecillo told the Sun Star said that while Cebu has been receiving cruise lines, poor port infrastructure is one of the major constrains of developing the cruise industry in the province.
“Yes, we do want to be included in the map of international cruise ships. But right now, we have some problems with the port area. But the Cebu Port Authority is looking into that. They are looking at another place or another town centre very near Cebu City to transfer all of these cargo ships so that we can allow the Cebu International Port, or Pier 6 to really concentrate on cruise liners,” said Ms Montecillo.
She also said that Cebu can offer tourism packages to the cruise market because of its beautiful beaches which are only half an hour from the city.
“Cebu is the second destination outside Manila, as it can offer almost the same things that Manila can offer with pluses. For now, it’s really just the problem on the ships’ docking area at Pier 6. But as I’ve said, the Cebu Ports Authority is already addressing that issue.”
And the construction of a new international container port will also push the area as an international cruise destination.
The Cebu International Port in Tayud in Consolacion will have an area of 60 hectares and will be finished by 2018.
The Department of Tourism is working is working with the Philippine Ports Authority to develop selected ports across the country.
Both have listed eight ports as the country’s top international hubs for cruise liners which include Davao, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Metro Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic and Zamboanga.
Sea tourist arrivals, mostly through cruises rose to 52,820 passengers in 2014 from 41,624 in 2013. Cruise tourism has been identified as one of the strategic tourism products under the Department of Tourism’s National Tourism Development Plan.