Open seas, piña colada in hand and the Cebu shoreline ahead. This is what future passengers of international cruises can look forward to. The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing 8 ports across the country to develop and market the Philippines as a destination for international cruises and Cebu is one of them.
Cebu is already a chosen destination for local cruises. Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Rowena Montecillo said just last week, Cebu welcomed a thousand guests aboard a cruise ship when it docked for a night in Cebu. She pointed out that one major factor that has stopped Cebu from catering to international cruises is poor port infrastructure.
“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 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,” Montecillo explained.
She added that the completion of the construction of an international port container in Consolacion would help the DOT promote Cebu as an international cruise destination. She believes that Cebu has several factors that make it an ideal destination such as the abundance of natural resources, citing the beaches in particular, many of which are less than an hour of travel away from the city. Tour packages are already prepared and include trips to Bohol.
“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,” Montecillo said. Tourism Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon Jr. explained further, “What we want in the short term is to increase the number of cruise ships calling port in the Philippines. But strategically, we stand to benefit more if we are able to convince these cruise ships to set up operations in the Philippines. We also want to have stronger presence in the major cruise events.” The DOT is already pitching the idea to international cruise carriers.
Photo credits: Expedia