20 July 2000
The Philippine Tourism Authority is looking into the
possibility of developing a cruise terminal near the
current Pier 15, located behind the Manila Hotel, a piece
of news that will be welcomed by inbound operators who are
keen to get into the lucrative cruise business.
PTA general manager Angelito Banayo said he was in
discussions with the Department of Transportation and
Communications to review usage of the area for a
purpose-built cruise terminal.
The Philippine tourism industry has long been clamouring
for a cruise terminal that would be able to take major
cruise liners, arguing that the Philippines, made up of
7,000 islands, was a natural destination for cruising.
While agents in the rest of Asia have been able to
expand into the lucrative cruise segment, Manila operators
have had to work within the confines of the limited
cruising infrastructure. Port facilities remain rudimentary
and cater mainly for seamen traffic who stop over in Manila
Although cruise liners do call in at islands such as
Cebu, Boracay and Palawan, they have to anchor offshore and
inbound operators have to hire flotillas of boats to bring
"It's not the most ideal of situations," said Billie
Calizo of Blue Horizons Tours & Travel. "Our facilities
are basic and we are not getting the type of cruise
tourists we should be."
She said liners such as Royal Caribbean, Royal Viking
and Princess had come calling at Cebu and Palawan, and
Boracay recently welcomed three liners in a week.
Calizo however believed the Philippines should go more
for small vessel cruising due to the nature of its islands.
"If you bring big numbers of people into places like
Palawan, it would not be the right thing to do."
Blue Horizons operates the Discovery cruises where the
maximum passenger load is 20 clients. "Products such as the
Blue Lagoon in Fiji would be ideal," said Calizo.
Blue Horizons, which recently sealed a partnership deal
with Diethelm Travel Thailand, would be pushing product
development in its strategy, she added.