Muscat, Oman – The Philippines continues to enjoy recognition as one of the world’s premier diving destinations, this time bagging back-to-back diving accolades at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final Gala Ceremony held recently at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman.
Winning WTA’s 2019 World’s Leading Dive Destination award for the first time, the Philippines bested eight other global dive destinations also nominated under the same category, namely Azores Islands, Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Maldives, and Mexico.
“Dubbed by marine experts and scientists as the heart of marine biodiversity in the world, our country is home to the highest concentration of coral reef life and astounding variety of marine species. This latest recognition is a validation that the Philippines is truly a premier dive destination,” said Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Meanwhile, Palawan’s prestigious Amanpulo Resort also emerged victorious as the World’s Leading Dive Resort at the gala event.
Last October, WTA held its gala event for Asia and Oceania in Vietnam, where the Philippines earned its first Asia’s Leading Dive Destination award after multiple nominations since 2006.
“It is also joyous news that the country’s diving scene is getting the attention it deserves. This award only adds to our motivation to promote a world-class Philippine dive tourism that is anchored on sustainability and inclusivity,” enthused Puyat.
Dive tourism is identified by the PDOT as one of the key areas in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP ) 2016 - 2022 that can positively affect industry growth in terms of increased visitor count, extended length of stay, and higher tourism revenue, among others.
Along these lines, the PDOT has hosted a number of dive-centric events including the Anilao Underwater Shootout photography competition, and the Travel Trade Support through Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) business-to-business (B2B) meetings.
“Through the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD), we also ensure that diving safety and operating standards in the country are at par with the rest of the world,” added Puyat.
Recently, the PDOT hosted the first Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) exposition, the only event in the world with the Dive Travel Exchange or business-to-business (B2B) meetings. The exposition gave foreign buyers the opportunity to see and experience first-hand Philippine dive products and knowledge of the country’s dive destinations, and stressed the Philippines’ competitive advantage in the region, not only as a diving destination, but also as a business hub.
In support of the PDOT’s initiatives, the Philippine Embassy here in Brazil recently hosted DIVE PHILIPPINES at Pátio Brasil Shopping in Brasilia. The dive exhibit was held from 21 to 24 November and demonstrated through Virtual Reality goggles the beauty and attraction of the Philippines as a dive destination. The event was well-received and introduced the Philippines to many Brazilians as a prime destination in Asia.
Founded in 1993, the WTA or World Travel Awards has been recognizing brands and organizations from the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries all over the world that have raised the bar for global tourism standards, through its annual Grand Tour, a series of six regional gala ceremonies with a grand final ceremony held at the end of each tour.