DOT encourages tourists to take the plunge in PHL as Dive Show opens Sept. 7
THE Department of Tourism (DOT) hopes to attract more foreign tourists to the Philippines as it positions itself as one of the major diving destinations in the world. In an interview with the BusinessMirror, DOT Spokesman and Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito C. Bengzon Jr. said they aim to generate 1,620 leads and business-to-business
THE Department of Tourism (DOT) hopes to attract more foreign tourists to the Philippines as it positions itself as one of the major diving destinations in the world.
In an interview with the BusinessMirror, DOT Spokesman and Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito C. Bengzon Jr. said they aim to generate 1,620 leads and business-to-business meetings from the expected 102 foreign buyers and local sellers who will participate in the Dive Resort Travel (DRT) Show Philippines which opens Friday (Sept. 7).
He said this year’s target is more than a two-fold increase from the 616 leads and meetings actually accomplished last year from just 66 participants.
“We look forward to the arrival of some 100 dive travel agents, operators and media from opportunity markets including France, Italy, Spain, the Nordic Region, Middle East and India,” he said.
“These new markets now see the Philippines as a richly-diverse destination for underwater adventure,” he added.
The DRT Show is considered one of the largest international diving expositions in Asia, and will be held on September 7 to 9, 2018, at the SM Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong City. It will also feature the Dive Travel Mart (DTM) where local dive centers, shops and resorts will sit down with foreign dive tour operators and travel agents for B2B meetings.
The DRT network comprises top-level exhibitors from 48 countries, with each show generating visitor traffic of at least 20,000 dive enthusiasts, according to a separate news statement from the DOT.
“Through the Dive Travel Mart, we aim to strengthen the Philippines’ position as a world-class dive travel and business hub, where everyone can experience first-hand dive products and services, at the same time, find tour dive sites accessible,” Bengzon enthused.
According to The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, there are about 6 million active scuba divers in the world, and some 20 million snorkelers globally. The Philippines, however, has attracted less than 2 percent of the international recreational dive market.
Diving and marine sports are among the tourism products the DOT will be promoting under its National Tourism Development Plan for 2016-2022, with 17 source markets for tourists identified.
To give DTM participants an “ultimate dive tourism experience,” the event will culminate in a five-day, four-night dive familiarization tour of selected diving destinations in the country from September 10 to 14.
Those who will participate in the familiarization tour will plunge the depths of featured diving spots such as Anilao, Batangas; Puerto Galera, Mindoro; Dumaguete, Negros Oriental; Bohol; Malapascua and Moalbal in Cebu; Siquijor Island; and Southern Leyte.
With over 7,100 islands, the Philippines has been tagged by scientists as the part of the Coral Triangle, acknowledged as the center of the world’s marine diversity.
In 2011 and 2014, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco found the waters of the Philippines as having the most diverse number of marine species.
Bengzon also disclosed that the DOT has developed other viable segments of dive tourism, such as technical diving and freediving, which will be offered during the B2B meetings. He said more freediving events have been taking place in the country following the endorsement by world champion and celebrity free-diver Guillaume Nery of the Philippines as the ‘Freediving Capital of Asia’ last year.
He noted that the Philippine booth at the DRT will host at least 50 local sellers representing establishments in various dive destinations all over the archipelago, in a bid to boost links and business partnerships with foreign buyers. The complete list of activities during the exhibition are available at www.philippinesdiveexpo.com.
According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (Padi), year-round diving can be done in the Philippines, and identifies major destinations and dive spots such as Yapak, Boracay; Monad Shoal, Malapascua; The Canyons, Puerto Galera; Balicasag Fish Sanctuary, Bohol; Mactan Island, Cebu; Morazan Maru, Coron Bay, Palawan; Apo Island, Dumaguete; and the USS New York, Subic Bay.
“The Philippines is a great place to see scorpion fish, emperor fish, barracuda, Moorish idol, flutemouth, tuna, batfish and trevally,” said the Padi Facebook page. “Some of the more unusual creatures spotted also include pygmy sea horses, parrotfish, lionfish, triggerfish, unicorn fish, trumpet fish, wrasse, mantis shrimp, squid and octopus. Bigger animals also get into the picture with eagle rays, devil rays, manta rays and sharks, including thresher sharks and hammerhead sharks.”
It added: “More than 7,000 tropical islands, clear warm water, vast coral reefs and mind-blowingly beautiful flora and fauna make the Philippines a true scuba diver’s paradise.”
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