More than 1,100 Japanese retirees made a brief stop here on board M/V Peace Boat which made its port call in Cebu on Monday (January 15, 2018).

Despite the early morning rains and continuous shower, the tourists stepped off the boat and swayed with the Sinulog dancers who welcomed them together with officials of the Department of Tourism (DOT) of the province.

Newly-installed DOT-7 Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano said the regional office was looking forward to more cruise ships making its port of call here.

With cruise tourism as one of the priority areas for development under the National Cruise Tourism Development Plan, the region is poised to be one of the main ports of call for international cruise liners.

“It has been a priority of the Department to develop and market the Philippines as a cruise tourism destination,” Tamano said.

“With more than 7,000 islands and being consistently part of the best islands in the world lists, we have more to offer – whether beach, food, culture or history.”

Tamano also said that with the location of the region being in Central Philippines, Central Visayas would be an ideal port of call for these international cruise liners.

“Of course, to lure more cruise liners to the Philippines especially the big cruise ships, we must be (at) par with international standards. That’s why the Department of Tourism developed the National Cruise Tourism Development Plan which highlights the strategies and programs to be adopted by the DOT and its partner agencies from ‎2016-2022 to develop the country’s cruise tourism industry,” Tamano added.

Aside from the passengers, the crew members were also very happy with the warm and enthusiastic welcome.

According to M/V Peace Boat’s international coordinator Adrian Gaviola, they are looking forward to coming back and bring more of their ships to the Philippines.

Upon disembarkation, the Japanese tourists broke off into groups and visited the tourist sites and attractions in the city and province, going as far as Carcar City in the south for a countryside tour.

After Cebu, the Peace Boat will travel to Bali, Indonesia, Australia and Oceania before going back to its home port in Kobe, Japan.