SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A global cruise vacation company that operates in more than 500 destinations worldwide is now eyeing the Freeport Zone as a regular cruise itinerary for its growing Asian market.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator Wilma Eisma said the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which owns three global cruise brands, had sent its vice president for New Business Development, John Tercek, to assess Subic’s readiness as a cruise ship destination.
“The Subic Freeport is now ready to meet the demands of the cruise tourism market, as we have been successful in this regard past when cruise ships like ‘Clipper Odyssey,’ ‘Spirit of Adventure,’ and the ‘Hanseatic’ came to Subic,” Eisma said.
“But now we could be looking at a regular schedule by Royal Caribbean, so we’re really excited with this prospect,” she added.
As a global cruise vacation company, RCCL owns and operates three global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.
It also has interests in the German brand TUI Cruises, the Spanish brand Pullmantur, and the SkySea cruises.
Tercek, who was accompanied by officials of the Department of Tourism on his July 1 and 2 visit to Subic, said RCCL is catering to two million Chinese cruise passengers each year and is now developing new market destinations.
“If ready, we are considering the Subic Freeport as one of the nearest stops from Southern China to help address the cruise market demand,” he added.
Tercek made an inspection of Alava Wharf here and received a briefing from Eisma on the heritage and history of Subic as a former American naval base and one of the most successful cases of military base conversion in the world.
He was also updated on tourism business potential in Subic, as well as neighboring communities in Central Luzon.
Tercek told Eisma that Subic has all the elements necessary for a cruise ship destination.
“I can see the potential of Subic Freeport as a conventional cruise ship destination,” he said. “But as we build bigger ships, you have to step up to address the demand.”
Tercek said if the port facilities are ready, the RCCL usually starts with five ship calls per year for a destination with 3,000 to 5,000 passengers each.
In the case of Subic, where there is good weather from November to April, however, it will be possible to have from five up to 30 ship calls, he added.
Tercek, who has created shore-side infrastructure projects and ventures to support RCCL’s strategic growth objectives, likewise reminded SBMA and DOT officials that as the cruise industry starts to build bigger ships, “you have to prepare your port facilities to meet the market demand.”
RCCL looks forward to supporting infrastructure development that will compliment cruise tourism development in Subic, just like what they did in Vietnam, he said.
Tercek, who was a partner in a Wall Street real estate investment firm, now leads in the development and management of RCCL’s interests in ports and commercial facilities around the world.
He is also in charge of determining the viability of the firm’s deployment in the region, as well as investment opportunities for cruise-related facilities and services.
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