Sea Connectivity To Boost SE Asia tourism -- By Robertson Ramirez (The Philippine Star)

v>MANILA, Philippines - Linking the seaports of Mindanao and Palawan with those of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei will boost the tourism exchange and cruise ship industry, as well as trade and maritime relations between the Southeast Asian nations, according to tourism officials.
“After launching the RORO trips between the Davao and Gen. Santos City seaports and Bitung, Indonesia, RORO trips between Mindanao and Palawan seaports and those of Malaysia and Brunei will follow,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo during the launch of M/V Super Shuttle weekly RORO ferry service.
The new shipping route, which is within the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), is the government’s maiden accomplishment under its ASEAN chairmanship this year.
While the Department of Tourism continues to work on opening more air routes at the Philippines’ secondary airports, Teo said creating a network of sea routes between the country’s sea gateways and those of Asian neighbors is a must to boost the country’s tourism.
“The RORO trips, where air-conditioned tourist buses can board the ships or barges, and new cruise ship lines will enhance tourism and trade within the southeast Asian growth area,” Teo said.
The government has also mapped out plans for joint naval operations with Indonesia and Malaysia to secure the maritime borders to protect the RORO vessels and cruise ship passengers.
Meanwhile, the DOT Region 11 Office in cooperation with Davao travel and tour operators will offer discounted packages under the “Davao Summer Will Rock You” campaign until May 31.
The summer special program was unveiled at the DOT Region 11 trade exhibit “Madayaw Davao” at the DOT Showroom at Gil Puyat Ave. Makati City that featured the destinations in the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental and the five cities of Davao, Tagum, Panabo, Digos, Mati and Samal.