Thursday, January 19, 2017

Department of Tourism Welcomes Superstar Virgo

The Department of Tourism (DOT) looks forward to welcoming the first-ever global luxury cruise ship to homeport in the Philippines.

The 13-storey SuperStar Virgo, which can accommodate more than 2,000 passengers and crew members at one time, will have its first-ever homeport deployment to Manila with the launch of Star Cruises’ Golden Triangle Program for the three cities of Laoag, Kaoshiung and Hong Kong.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said, “We know that the Philippines will become a more prominent cruise destination with our cruise tourism strategy and action plan in place and a commitment to enhance our country’s attractiveness to the world’s cruise lines.”

In the past five years, cruise calls to Philippine ports recorded an average increase of 52.5%.  For this year, a total of 105 cruise calls are scheduled with an estimated foreign passenger count of 117,000, who will go on shore excursions here.  Local ports most visited by mid-sized and large ships are Manila, Puerto Princesa and Boracay.  Expedition cruises visit Coron, El Nido, Romblon, Kalanggaman, Limasawa, Cebu, Bohol, Hundred Islands, Siargao and Camiguin.

“Filipinos are excited to become part of milestones that Star Cruises will undertake in our country. The homeporting of SuperStar Virgo here supports the DOT’s National Cruise Tourism Development Strategy, which defines our directions and plans to make the Philippines a major player in the regional cruise industry arena,” Assistant Secretary for Tourism Development Maria Lourdes Japson pointed out during the media launch held at the Passion Restaurant, Resorts World Manila.

Featuring six day/five night cruises departing from Manila South Harbor beginning March 19, SuperStar Virgo’s itinerary is an opportunity for Filipino leisure travelers to enjoy the exciting ports of call of Laoag in Ilocos Norte, Kaoshiung in Taiwan and Hong Kong in China. Targeted mainly at Filipino outbound travelers during the summer school vacation, an early bird discount starting at US$ 490 per person on twin sharing is offered for cruise departures on March 19, 24, and 29, 2017.  These Golden Triangle cruises originating from Manila will be until May 23, 2017.

Star Cruises Travel Service-Singapore Senior Vice President Michael Goh, Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Maria Lourdes Japson, Star Cruise President (Hong Kong) Ltd Ang Moo Lim, and Star Cruise Assistant VP for Sales Andrea Solis Manzano share a light moment with the audience during the media launch of the Gold Triangle Program of Star Cruise’s SuperStar Virgo.

President Ang Moo Lim of Star Cruise Hong Kong Limited stressed that, “We are willing to invest more in the Philippines as the Golden Triangle route becomes successful.”

“The DOT is collaborating multi-sectoral efforts to fast track regulatory and procedural reforms aimed towards the enhancement of cruise-related infrastructure, extend capacity for socio-cultural preservation, highlight natural wonders in less-travelled areas, and ensure inclusive and sustainable development to host communities in the cruise destinations and the Philippine tourism industry as a whole,” Japson elaborated.


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