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DOT to push Cebu as maritime hub

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  As Cebu is starting to see recovery in tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT-7) plans to initiate a campaign that would highlight the province’s strength in maritime industry.

“We export boats and ships. We sell speedboats and manufacture diving equipment. We have good diving facilities,” said DOT-7 regional director Shalimar Tamano, explaining that this should be one of Cebu’s attractions that could entice not only domestic visitors but  global travelers once strict travel restrictions will be lifted, and confidence to travel is regained.

Tamano plans to gather stakeholders in Cebu’s maritime industry probably in the next six months to craft a campaign on this matter.

“It’s about time that stakeholders come together,” he said during the recently held tourism coffee table discussion as part of the Cebu Business Month (CBM 2021) celebration.

According to Tamano, Cebu should capitalize and assert as a maritime hub, by creating a yearly event showcasing this niche.

He also plans to coordinate with the Philippine coast Guard, different local government units (LGUs) in the province, Maritime Industry Authority to support the project.

Cebu has long been the hub for shipbuilding in the Philippines, with multinational ship-making companies operating in Cebu, like Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Company Ltd. , Austal Philippines’, among others.

Specifically, the town of Balamban in the western part of Cebu are hosting shipbuilding companies and this is one of town’s economic and job generating industries.

Austal, which is operating a ship manufacturing plant in Balamban, is producing naval vessels since it opened the US$20 million shipyard expansion in 2019.

The expansion opened up for the construction of offshore patrol vessels for the Philippines.

Established in 2012, Austal had delivered 17 ships to nine countries around the world.

Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Cebu Inc., on the other hand, has multiple maritime industry functions. Aside from shipbuilding, it is also doing ship repair and manufacturing of outfittings for ships and vessels.

Locally, boat making is also has also gained interest among capitalists.

In 2018, shipbuilding company Evercat Asia Inc., led by Andrew S. Aznar, tapped the growing need for modern inter-island transportation units, following the government’s mandate to scrap all wooden vessels in order to ensure security among passengers.

Boat Classified, for example, which is Certified A-Class Boat Builder by the Marina, is building boats built in high-quality fiberglass.

Part of the campaign, Tamano added is to further boost Cebu’s reputation as hub for best diving destinations in the Philippines.

Cebu has been named as top diving destination in Asia, which makes diving-related businesses a thriving venture in the province.

Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Cebu, particularly Moalboal and Malapascua, have been the favorite diving sites of professional scuba divers, as well scuba diving hobbyists. In 2020, these provinces cited best diving sites in the Philippines at the Marine Diving Awards in Tokyo, Japan.

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