PPA readies ports for cruise tourism boom

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THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said it has started building ports that are dedicated for cruise operations, as it anticipates an influx of tourists following the country’s win as the “Best Cruise Destination in Asia 2023” at the latest World Cruise awards.

PPA General Manager Jay Santiago said the agency has “initiated and continuously conducts improvements of its port facilities, including the construction of dedicated ports for cruise tourism,” as it aims to provide safer and more convenient maritime transportation experience to tourists aboard cruise vessels.

“On the part of PPA, we have started building terminals that are dedicated to cruise operations; we want to ensure the ports can accommodate the big cruise ships that we expect to come in in the near future,” Santiago said, partly in Filipino.

Currently, among the ports under PPA, which cater to cruise vessels include the Ports of Currimao in Ilocos Norte, Salomague in Ilocos Sur, Manila, Bohol and El Nido, Palawan.

It likewise aims to develop more cruise terminals in the near term in the areas of Coron in Palawan, Siargao, Camiguin, Boracay and Puerto Galera.

“We believe that aside from picturesque tourist destinations, it is the rich culture, desirable local delicacies and the warmth of the Filipino people which entices foreign tourists to visit the Philippines. To complement these attractions, PPA also just recently underwent the Department of Tourism’s  ‘Filipino Brand of Service’ training attended by our Port Managers and other port frontline personnel,” Santiago said.

He noted that the PPA is expecting 40,000 additional passengers until the end of the year.

“We have a lot of cruise ships coming over, especially this holiday season. Since the resumption of cruise tourism in the country last February 2023, PPA has already served an initial number of 46,657 passengers from ships calling at its ports as of September 2023. So overall, it’s 80,000 plus,” Santiago said.