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Cebu, Bohol among foreign cruise destinations in 2014, 2015

Cebu and Bohol will be among the ports of call of international cruise ships in 2014 and 2015, a statement from the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas said.

Despite the natural disasters and calamities faced by the Philippines in 2013, the most recent being the earthquake originating from Sagbayan, Bohol and super typhoon Yolanda, more foreign tourists are still expected to visit next year and in 2015, many through international cruise ships, the DOT added.

Bohol will be among the Philippine destinations of 23 cruise lines in 2014, the statement cites Assistant Secretary Benito C. Bengzon, head of the DOT market development group, as saying. The ships will be bringing in over 23,000 tourists to different areas of the Philippines.

Their number is more than the 17 cruise ships that stopped by various points in the country in 2013, including Malapascua Island, Cebu City, and Bohol.

cruise ships philippines
More cruise ships are expected to stop by the Philippines in 2014 and 2015. Creative Commons photo by Robert Wallace.

Visiting Bohol in January and March, 2014, will be the Hapag-Lloyd operated cruise liner MS Europa II. The ship is slated to make port in Tagbilaran City.

DOT Central Visayas Regional Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said there couldn’t be more welcome news.

“It is heartening to know that in spite of the calamities we have faced this year, tourists are still coming in to visit our islands, most especially Bohol. After the October 15 earthquake, Bohol tourism struggled to to find its pace as fears of aftershocks still reverberates,” she cited.

According to her, MS Europa’s visit to Bohol would restore tourist confidence in the province.

The DOT said it has identified cruise tourism as one of the country’s strategic products under the National Tourism Development Plan. It will extend welcome reception and farewell activities for all cruise ships arriving in the country to make their visit unique, fun, and memorable.

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News

With Bantayan, Malapascua still rebuilding, Capitol promotes Southern Cebu attractions

While the destination islands of Bantayan and Malapascua recover from super typhoon Yolanda, the Provincial Government encourages tourists to visit other Cebu attractions.

Cebu provincial tourism officer Mary Grace K. Paulino said heritage structures in southern Cebu such as Spanish period churches and buildings are intact.

“Our southern tour is very popular right now especially because the old churches and other heritage sites of Bohol had been destroyed or damaged during the earthquake,” she added.

Since Yolanda did not directly hit the towns or cities in the southern part of Cebu, nature sites like beach and mountain resorts and the dive spots of Moalboal were either spared or sustained only slight damages, according to Paulino.

“We suggest to tourists that they visit other Cebu destinations because we have plenty. The good thing that we’ve noticed is that our tourism industry is going back to normal,” she added.

MOALBOAL BEACH. While the destination islands of Bantayan and Malapascua recover from super typhoon Yolanda, the Provincial Government encourages tourists to visit other Cebu attractions like the beaches in Moalboal. (Photo by Max Limpag)
MOALBOAL BEACH. While the destination islands of Bantayan and Malapascua recover from super typhoon Yolanda, the Provincial Government encourages tourists to visit other Cebu attractions like the beaches in Moalboal. (Photo by Max Limpag)

In the case of Bantayan, she revealed, around 80 to 90 percent of resorts were damaged and couldn’t accommodate guests. There are almost 30 accommodation facilities in the Bantayan town of Sta. Fe alone, she added.

Only 3 or 4 resorts in Bantayan are currently operational, Paulino cited, adding the situation would have a huge impact on the local economy of the island which is being driven by tourism.

Right now, Paulino said the Provincial Government is helping in clean-up activities in affected Cebu areas, especially in Malapascua.

They’ve also met with affected establishments to determine how the province can help them get back on their feet.

According to her, one program they’ve identified is to provide livelihood to local employees of the resorts who currently do not have work.

Before the typhoon, the Provincial Government had been conducting trainings on community-based tourism programs. The goal, Paulino added, is to teach the local people to conduct tours for tourists as a way of providing them jobs.

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Uncategorized

Many Philippine destinations open to tourists after Yolanda

Trips to the Cebu destinations of Bantayan and Malapascua are now available albeit with some limitations, an advisory from the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas said.

DOT 7 Regional Director Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said ferry operations in Bantayan have returned to normal a few days after super typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) wrecked havoc in the Philippines.

Tourists may avail of special trips to Malapascua, Montecillo added in the advisory.