US-based cruise ship to attract tourists

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Friday, February 27, 2015


THE docking of the MS Caledonian Sky of the US-based cruise liner Zegrahm Expeditions in Davao City on Thursday is seen to boost the tourism of Davao Region.

Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao Director Roberto Alabado III told reporters at the sidelines of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (Cancham) Davao Chapter that the docking of the cruise ship shows that Davao Region and Davao City can become a destination for cruise ships.

City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) officer-in-charge Lisette Marques, in a separate interview with Sun.Star Davao on Friday, said the cruise passengers, mostly Canadians and Americans who were able to see the city, will go back to their homes and share what they saw in the city.

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Alabado said when the tourists go back to their homes, they will have good words to say about Davao and it will be translated to further interests to the region and the city.

Marques also said this goes to show the growing confidence of tourists to visit the city and the region amid the recent developments in Mindanao.

She said the cruise director was able to see how peaceful the area was despite the recent happenings in Mindanao.

She said the last time Zegrahm Expeditions had an expedition to the Philippines was in 1999.

Alabado said the cruise line stopped coming to the Philippines due to security issues.

Marques said the city was the last port of call of Zegrahm Expeditions' MS Caledonian Sky before it started out its Indonesian expedition.

The ship's first port of call was in Sandakan, Malaysia, then it went to Palawan, some Visayan Islands, and Mindanaoan islands prior to docking in the city.

Marques said Thursday that a total of 88 passengers disembarked from MS Caledonian and were toured at the Philippine Eagle Foundation and Malagos Farm before they flew to Manila to take their flights to the US or Canada.

On the same day, 66 passengers boarded the MS Caledonian for the Indonesian expedition.

Both batches of passengers were greeted with a cultural performance.

Marques said the cruise director is also considering to dock again in the city sometime next year.

However, Marques pointed out that there is still the need to have the ports in Davao City to be developed for cruise tourism.

She said they are calling on the Philippine Ports Authority or the Department of Transportation and Communications to look into the development of the ports in Davao for cruise tourism, particularly the Sta. Ana Wharf.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 28, 2015.

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