At least 23 cruise ships are expected to berth in Puerto Princesa City this year, from expedition cruises to 2,000-pax Legend of the Seas, stakeholders announced on Thursday.
A number of ships including Azamara Quest, MS Albatross, and Seabourn Sojourn will make their maiden calls in the first quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, Legend of the Seas will berth in third quarter, reveals Aileen Amurao, city tourism officer.
The announcement came as the Philippines continues to be part of more cruise itineraries in Southeast Asia. Last year, the country received 60,000 cruise tourists, an increase of 35 percent, DOT officials told Travel Update Philippines during the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Myanmar.
The private sector is also bullish about the return of MASwings, which ceased their thrice-weekly flights between Kota Kinabalu and Puerto Princesa in September.
The airline provided the only international commercial connection of the city. With the route’s suspension, travelers would need to fly to Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo to connect to the city.
“It will return. We’re still in negotiations,” says Debbie Tan, president of Palawan Tourism Council, about MASwings.
The announcement also came as a task force composed of the national government, LGUs, and the private sector launched the 70th anniversary of Palawan’s liberation. An event will be held for veterans and their families on April 21 to 23 in Puerto Princesa City.
The commemoration highlights the little-known sites in Palawan that witnessed the development of World War II, from the occupation of the Japanese to liberation.
Tan says the sites have already been integrated in shore excursion itineraries of cruise tourists, expanding the number of attractions that travelers can visit in Palawan.
The taskforce handling the April event is composed of the Department of Tourism, Province of Palawan, Puerto Princesay City, USAID, Palawan Chamber of Commerce, Palawan Tourism Council, and Rajah Travel Corp.