RISING CRUISE DESTINATION

With at least 17 expected luxury ship visits this year, there is no doubt, Boracay’s cruise tourism industry is booming.

As a rising cruise destination, Boracay is part of the Turquoise Triangle, the big league in Philippine cruise tourism aligned with Manila and Puerto Princesa in Palawan. This will give way for more developments that will support the growing number of the island’s cruise market.

Last February, five cruise ships made Boracay as its port of call and one in January bringing about 5,000 cruise passengers. For the rest of the year, at least 40,000 are visiting to experience the island’s grandeur.

While most of these cruise ships stay for a few hours only in Boracay shores, their visits are considered significant. Atty. Helen Catalbas, regional director of the Department of Tourism for Western Visayas said cruise visitors, mostly highend tourists, spend more during their stay in the island. One important reason for having cruise tourists is for promotion and marketing, too, says Catalbas. “We want to give the best experience to our cruise visitors for their impression is important in the promotion of the island on their respective countries,” she said.

During cruise visits, passengers and crew of the ship experience island hopping tour, visit different iconic sites, try Filipino and international gastronomic fair and spend their time at Boracay’s world-class beaches.

Aside from having a full calendar this year, a number of international cruise lines are already booked to visit the island in 2018 and 2019, according to Aklan Jetty Port Manager Niven Maquirang. To compliment the growing cruise industry, Maquirang said more developments are underway.

Boracay is even chosen by international cruise line Royal Caribbean Cruises Inc., as its home port in the Philippines. Maquirang said the cruise ship hub will rise in Caticlan in the next three to four years.

The future developments, moreover, will not just benefit Boracay alone. It is expected to generate jobs for Aklanons, create wider market for local producers, as well as to expand the tourism opportunities in other Aklan towns.

By Karen Bermejo

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