The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomed over a thousand guests, officers, and crew aboard the posh Azamara Journey, one of the luxury boutique-style vessels of the Azamara Club Cruises fleet, on 2nd April 2014.
The ship made a maiden call at the Eva Macapagal Passenger Terminal in Manila South Harbour for an overnight stay in Manila as part of a 17-night Southeast Asian voyage that hailed from Hong Kong, Sandakan, Papolo of Sulawesi, Komodo, Bali, and Semarang before finally heading to its last stop in Singapore.
Tourism Undersecretary Atty. Maria Victoria V. Jasmin led other representatives of the agency during the official welcome ceremonies on board the vessel.
Undersecretary Jasmin said the country’s cruise tourism looks promising. “Last year, three luxury liners made their maiden calls on Manila and other top tourist destination shores of the country. And in January this year, MV Costa Victoria of the world renowned Costa Cruises made its maiden call on Manila after visiting Puerto Princesa and Boracay. This growing interest in our country as a port of call should, therefore, fuel more public-private investments between the government and private sector in preparing our tourism gateways,” she said.
“An aggregate of 41,624 cruise passengers were received by different ports of the country last year, reflecting a 19.35-percent increase over the 23,857 recorded in 2012. We attribute this upsurge to the aggressive market development efforts and government-private sector partnership, which encouraged more cruise companies to include the Philippines in their offerings. This signals that the country is finally growing to become a preferred cruise destination in the region,” she said.
Cruise tourism is one of the niche markets being developed by the DOT. This year, the country expects to welcome 23 vessel calls, five of which will make their maiden calls on Manila and several top tourist destination shores, bringing an estimated 24,000 passengers.