Philippines makes bid to grow cruise tourism by joining alliance


The Filipino government is making a bold bid to increase cruise tourism after it announced it would be joining with four other cruise destinations – Hainan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xiamen – to form the Asia Cruise Cooperation.

The alliance will be maximising the growth of the cruise tourism in Asia by working on ways to develop strategies around the industry.

The group will facilitate itinerary development, sharing industry and market insights, enhancing cruise lines’ marketing efforts with funding support and creating consumer demand for cruising.

Benito C Bengzon Jr, the Undersecretary the Philippine Department of Tourism said, “The Philippines is truly fortunate to be part of the ACC, as Philippine cruise tourism can compliment the itineraries along its neighbor-destinations of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Hainan and other future ACC member-ports. Cruise calls to the Philippine islands have been growing at an average rate of 50% over the past three years, from 16 calls in 2012 to 70 calls in 2015.”

The launch of the group was announced at this year’s Seatrade conference and cruise lines like Princess Cruises have already pledged their support for the project.

Jan Swartz, President at Princess Cruises said, “We are very proud of our close working relationship with Asia Cruise Cooperation and we look forward to continuing to work with them to grow cruise tourism in Asia.”

Dr Zinan Liu, President of North APAC and China of Royal Caribbean International said, “When planning an itinerary, cruise lines tend to choose attractive ports of call in the same region. As a result, we believe it’s essential to collaborate with our ACC partnering destinations in order to attract international cruise companies and develop new itineraries.”

Earlier this month, the Filipino Department of Tourism also announced it would be launching a campaign to draw more sea-based foreign tourists to the country under its first-ever Cruise Tourism Plan.

The CTP will highlight the areas where sea port expansion should be prioritised as well as tourist sites with the most potential in attracting luxury cruise lines.

“We are confident that this comprehensive strategy and associated action plans will set a course for the Philippines to become a more prominent cruise destination in the future. The strategy fits perfectly into the National Tourism Development Plan and aligns with the country’s commitment to enhance its attractiveness to the world’s cruise lines,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

The CTC has identified four ports as a priority to developing the county’s cruise industry – Manila, Boracay, Subic and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

The Filipino government hopes to attracts 65,000 cruise visitors this year.