TACLOBAN CITY – At least three cruise ships bringing in over 1,000 foreign guests and crew members would make a stop in picturesque islands in Eastern Visayas this year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office here announced Thursday.
The first to arrive is a ship owned by Silver Cruises with 382 guests and 295 crew members. It will make a port of call on Kalanggaman Island on Feb. 10.
“The cruise company requested to transform the setting of the island into a festival place. Everything is being paid for by the cruise company. They just pick a specific site to do this production,” said DOT Eastern Visayas regional director Karina Rosa Tiopes in an interview.
Swan Hellenic Cruises will bring 152 tourists and 120 crew to Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte on May 2. The same ship will also make a stop at Capul Island in Northern Samar on May 5.
The third cruise ship owned by Cora Adventurer will be in Eastern Visayas from Nov. 1 to 13. Its 120 guests and 48 crew will visit Biri and Capul Islands in Northern Samar, Maripipi and Sambawan Islands in Biliran; Babatngon, Tacloban City, Cuatro Islas, and Kalanggaman Island in Leyte; and Padre Burgos in Southern Leyte province.
“Of all the places in the country, they choose half of their cruise tours in the region. This is a good indication that we really have something here,” Tiopes added.
The coming of cruise ships is a result of promotion by tour operators in the country, the official added.
The visit of cruise tourism in Eastern Visayas will spark the interest of local tourists to visit these destinations.
“So, it actually ignites domestic tourism as well. It gives interest among domestic tourists, it creates a positive impact at the local level,” she added.
Cruise tourism in Eastern Visayas started in 2013 with one cruise ship that made a stop in Kalanggaman Island, the prime tourist destination in Leyte province. (PNA)