Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has released a cruise industry study that identifies Boracay, Manila and Puerto Princesa as among the 21 ports within 6-7 cruise days from Hong Kong that will likely be part of mainstream cruise itineraries in Asia.
The research Asia’s Cruise Port Development Study has identified ports in six countries with plans to upgrade berths, cruise infrastructure and supporting infrastructure, expand tourism offerings and improve destination management in areas such as the issuing of visas, HKTB says in a news release.
The other ports are Sanya, Xiamen, Zhoushan, Qingdao and Yantai in China, Keelung, Hualien, Kaohsiung, Anping, Taichung, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu in Taiwan, Miyakojima and Takamatsu in Japan, Mokpo and Yeosu in South Korea, and Hon La in Vietnam.
The study further says that within five years, half of these ports will be capable of receiving cruise ships of 100,000 gross tonnage, giving cruise companies more flexibility in deploying their fleet and planning itineraries.
Manila, Boracay and Puerto Princesa are the most popular destinations for cruises in the Philippines. In Puerto Princesa City alone, a total of 23 cruise ships will have berthed by the end of the year, according to the local government.
Cruise tourist arrivals in the Philippines grew by 35 percent in 2014, according to the Department of Tourism.
Hong Kong as home ship destination
With Hong Kong’s cruise infrastructure, its port is being positioned as the home ship destination of Asian cruising. It is one of the nearest ports to Greater China (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau), a market that Cruise Lines International Association says is the biggest source of cruise tourists in Asia and the eight largest in the world.
Another study released by HKTB identifies 83 million cruise passengers in seven source markets in Greater China, and Hong Kong may likely see a cruise potential of 54 million passengers from this market.
Since Philippine ports have been identified as a destination of cruises coming from Hong Kong, such market potential could boost Chinese tourist arrivals in the Philippines. Inbound tourism from China to the Philippines shrank by 7.37 percent in 2014.
Both HKTB studies were carried out by the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and released by the tourism board on the opening day of Cruise Shipping Miami.