Iloilo City tourism to get big boost from cruise ship arrival

Iloilo City’s tourism industry is expected to get a big boost from the visit of a Japanese cruise ship next week.

MV Pacific Venus, carrying some 400 japanese tourists, is set to dock at Iloilo International Port in Barangay Loboc, Lapuz district Saturday morning, Jan. 26.

The tourists will witness the highlights of the world-famous Dinagyang Festival. The organizer reserved seats in the the city’s new grandstand for them.

The Department of Tourism (DOT-6) will also tour the visitors around city, which is also known for its beautiful churches and heritage houses.

“This is a big break for the tourism industry of Iloilo City. Japan is known for its high standards, and Iloilo City being one of the destinations of the cruise ship means a lot,” said DOT-6 Director Helen J. Catlabas.

“This only proves that Iloilo City has the capacity to market tourism products and services to the world through the cruise industry,” she added.

The city, according to the tourism department, is now “100 percent ready” for the arrival of the Japanese cruise ship.

On Jan. 9, the DOT-6, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard, Iloilo City Tourism Office, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc., and the ground handler Southwest Tours Boracay, Inc. inspected the port and the new grandstand on Muelle Loney Street.

The PPA said an area of 9,532 sq. meters of the port will be enclosed for the security of the cruise ship passengers.

“We are continuously coordinating with other government agencies especially the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to ensure the security and smooth arrival of the Japanese cruise ship, memorable Dinagyang Festival experience, and Iloilo City tour of visitors up to the time they leave,” Catalbas said.

The DOT-6 started preparing for the arrival of the cruise ship in January last year.

MV Pacific Venus with 183 meters in length will leave Sunday afternoon, Jan. 27.

The DOT-6 has sustained its campaign since 2012 to get Western Visayas in the world cruise tourism industry. This campaign has been carried through participation in the cruise shipping exhibition in the United States in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and in China, Singapore and South Korea in 2016.

Moreover, the DOT-6 conducted cruise circuit inspections in Iloilo, Guimaras, Capiz and Northern Antique to check the readiness of the tourism sites and recommended areas for improvement. This is being supported by conducting trainings and seminars for the tourism stakeholders like Local Community Guiding Seminar, Personality Development and Product Development, Marketing, Visual Merchandising and Store Layouting.IMT