Vietnam and Philippines announce new cruise ports


ASEAN nations are wakening to the idea of how investment in port infrastructure can produce tourism jobs.
Vietnam and the Philippines have both announced port projects and acknowledged they see the cruise industry as a major area of focus for the tourism industry.
In Vietnam, the People’s Council of Kien Giang has approved the construction of an international passenger port on Phu Quock Island which will cost US$76.6 million.
The port project will include a 140m-long wharf, a passenger terminal and other related facilities.
The port is designed to handle cruise liners with up to 5,000 to 6,000 passengers and construction will begin this year.
In the Philippines, the Department of Tourism has identified eight key ports which they hope will increase the country’s cruise tourism.
According to the 2014 World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index, Philippines’ port infrastructure ranks 101 of the 144 covered in the study, the lowest out of the ASEAN nations.
Tourism Under-secretary Benito Bengzon Jr said the government has identified Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Borocay, Davao, Bohol, Cebu and Zamboanga for the projects.
“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,” said Mr Bengzon.
He also said it was imperative the Philippines also improves its airports, which comes hand-in-hand with its proposed seaport development.
The Filipino government has already started the development of a passenger terminal in Mactan and the Kalibo Airport in Aklan.
The DOT said in a statement: “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 have indicated that sea tourists rose to 52,820 passengers in 2014 from 41,624 in 2013 and the Philippines has identified cruise tourism is one of the strategic tourism products identified under DOT’s National Tourism Development Plan.