The Philippines will become an official member of Asia Cruise Fund beginning in April 2015.
Signing an agreement with the two founding members Hong Kong Tourism Board and Taiwan Tourism Bureau last week during the two-day Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific conference and exhibition, the Philippines’ entry is expected to strengthen the regional cooperation objective of the fund.
Asia Cruise Fund aims to promote regional cooperation in cruise tourism and to encourage international cruise lines to deploy more ships to and increase their investment in Asia by supporting the development and marketing of cruise products featuring the port partners.
“There has been a dramatic influx of cruise arrivals to the country with an average growth rate of 40 percent over the last two years, which is expected to hit 50 percent by year-end. This performance milestone has served as the driving force for the Philippines to take on a more active role in strengthening the promotion of the region’s cruise industry,” says DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. in a news release.
He explains that the participation is a “significant step as we join the rest of the fund’s members in synchronizing efforts to diversify our region’s product offerings for various cruise markets and attract more of the world’s growing cruise travel population.”
This year, the Philippines has also signed a cooperation deal with Vietnam for cruise tourism.
Aside from the Philippines, Hainan, China also joined the fund. It will become an official member next month.
“The Philippines and Hainan are joining the co-op fund, transforming the alliance from a single ‘line’ between two places to an entire ‘area’. We are confident that by linking the unique features of these four destinations, we will enrich the content of the Asian packages offered by cruise operators and strengthen their confidence in the Asian market. This will expand the scale and boost the competitiveness of this market, and further brighten the prospects of tourism in Asia,” comments Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s deputy director-general, Dr. Wayne Liu.
In a news release, Asia Cruise Fund explains that funding has already been approved for a number of itineraries featuring Hong Kong and Taiwan developed by various cruise lines. It furthers that the four members will introduce more cruise products, drive the development of the Asian cruise market, and invite other ports in the region to enter the alliance.