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.

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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