The Philippine Department of Tourism, Province of Aklan and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) have sealed a partnership to construct a purpose-built cruise ship terminal in the Western Visayas' Caticlan or Boracay.
The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the Seatrade Cruise Conference (SCC), will see the Miami-based global cruise company provide all the necessary technical and financial support. It is still under negotiation whether the expected homeport for RCCL will open to other commercial vessels as well.
(From left) Province of Aklan’s Florencio Miraflores; Royal Caribbean Cruise's John Tercek; and Philippine Department of Tourism's Benito Bengzon, Jr
Said DoT undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr, who headed the Philippine delegation at the SCC: “We are seeing a major shift in the major cruise market. There will be more ships to be deployed in South-east Asia, and we are hoping that the Philippines will get more than its fair share of the market."
As well, he added that the extended deployment of a number of large cruise ships to the country is a crucial factor in positioning the Philippines as a compelling and attractive value-for-money transit port.
Following Puerto Princesa and Manila, Boracay is the Philippines’ third largest cruise destination with 29 calls over the last four years.
International cruise calls to the Philippines have been growing at an average 27.8 per cent over the past four years, from 56 calls in 2014 to 70 calls in 2015 and 72 calls in 2016. This year, the Philippines expects over a hundred port calls bringing in an estimated 122,000 cruise passengers.