The Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office is searching for more sites in the region that can accommodate more tourists who are part of a cruise.
DOT Eastern Visayas regional director Karina Rosa Tiopes told the Philippine News Agency Tuesday that they are particularly looking for mainland beach areas in the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar that have long and unexplored coastlines and can accommodate 1,000 to 2,000 cruise ship passengers.
“They want an area where the water is clear and snorkeling is good. They are not even looking for extravagant facilities. They just want a functional toilet facility,” Tiopes said.
“They are looking for a Boracay-like experience but with fewer people,” she said, referring to one of the best beaches not just in the country but the world.
Eastern Visayas has been part of the cruise tourism industry since 2013 through German company Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ MS Europa, which carries around 400 tourists to Kalanggaman Island in Palompon, Leyte.
Since then, the region has become a regular port call for smaller vessels used on expedition cruises carrying around 100 to 600 guests.
Among the destinations frequently included in the cruise itinerary are Kalanggaman Island and Cuatro Islas in Leyte province, Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte, and Capul Island in Northern Samar.
Newly included places are Padre Burgos in Southern Leyte; Canigao Island, Tacloban City, and Palo in Leyte; Maripipi and Sambawan in Biliran; and Biri Island in Northern Samar.
“The growth of cruise tourism is not only measured by the number of cruise calls. It may be one cruise ship visiting several destinations in the region,” Tiopes added.
This year, the cruise ship that will bring tourists to Eastern Visayas is the Coral Adventurer of Coral Expeditions, a pioneering Australian cruise line. (PNA)