PPA eyes over 100K cruise passengers in 2024

Passengers onboard the Silver Spirit cruise ship are welcomed by tourism and city government officials at the Manila South Harbor on February 15, 2023. PNA PHOTO BY YANCY LIM
Passengers onboard the Silver Spirit cruise ship are welcomed by tourism and city government officials at the Manila South Harbor on February 15, 2023. PNA PHOTO BY YANCY LIM

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said it expects the number of cruise passengers to reach 103,899 in 2024.

In 2023, there were 91 total cruise ship calls with almost 90,000 passengers, PPA general manager Jay Santiago said during a press conference on Tuesday, July 9.

Santiago also announced that from January to May this year alone, the cruise ship calls have reached 65 with 58,648 passengers visiting the country.

Santiago said most of the cruise passengers were Europeans and from Hong Kong.

According to PPA, the completion of a cruise ship port in the port of Juban in the municipality of Dapa, Surigao del Norte is expected to boost maritime connectivity and economic growth for Siargao Island and the entire province.

PPA said it also has ongoing cruise terminal projects in Camiguin, Boracay, Coron in Palawan, and in Puerto Galera.

“Ongoing na ‘yung construction ng cruise terminal natin sa Coron, Palawan and then we will be bidding out ‘yung cruise terminal natin sa Camiguin, and then in Aklan to cater to Boracay. In Bohol ongoing na ‘yung conversion ng Catagbacan Port into a cruise terminal. We have right now other than sa Siargao, we have four more ongoing,” Santiago told the media.

Santiago also promised to improve its services in all cruise ports to avoid the “cruise chaos” that happened in the port of Manila in 2023.

Tayo naman, PPA is professional enough to admit kung may pagkukulang ang PPA but of course we’ve undertaken measures also to make parties in that particular situation accountable and from that time, sinabi ko na sa buong management pati sa operations team natin na ayaw na nating mangyari ulit yun,” Santiago said.

PPA last year warned that it may stop cruise operations at the Port of Manila if the ship agent of cruise vessel MV Norwegian Jewel and terminal operator continue to fail to explain the “cruise chaos” that transpired at the Port on November 30, 2023.  

Some cruise passengers posted on social media about their “traumatic” and “harrowing” experience while disembarking at the Port of Manila.

Santiago said this incident never happened again after he gave a stern warning to all stakeholders.

“I trust them to make sure that every arrival ng every cruise ship, hindi ‘yan puwede na naka-template. Dapat special attention, special accommodation bawat isang cruise ship dahil iba-iba ang demands niyan at iba-iba ‘yung situations niyan,” he said.

“So they have to be there on the ground to make sure that days or weeks before maayos ang preparasyon and make sure that all the stakeholders specially non-PPA stakeholders are ready to accept ‘yung cruise arrivals natin and I said I don’t want that to ever happen again,” Santiago added.

Meanwhile, the PPA said it posted its highest dividend remittance in 2023 amounting to P5.06 billion boosting the agency as the fourth top GOCC contributor in the country.

PPA posted a revenue of P25.44 billion in 2023. (ABS-CBN News)

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