By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – The Philippines has once again secured the title of Asia’s “leading dive destination” after bagging the award at the prestigious 2023 World Travel Awards (WTA), the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Thursday.
The country clinched the title for the fifth consecutive year at the preeminent WTA Asia & Oceania Gala Ceremony 2023 in Vietnam on Sept. 6.
“The Philippines’ fifth consecutive win as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination further affirms the unparalleled beauty and mega biodiversity of our country loved by divers and tourists all over the world,” said Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco.
Frasco said this is a testament to the Philippines’ commitment to sustainable tourism development and strengthened collaboration with tourism stakeholders.
“From our ridges to our reefs, you will never run out of reasons to Love the Philippines,” she added.
DOT Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano personally received the WTA Asia’s Leading Dive Destination 2023 trophy, which was awarded based on public votes and validation from the group’s panel of travel professionals.
The following Philippine private tourism stakeholders also bagged notable victories at the WTA Asia & Oceania Gala Ceremony 2023:
- Okada Manila (Asia’s Leading Casino Resort)
- Discovery Shores Boracay (Philippines’ Leading Beach Resort 2023)
- Travelite Travel and Tours Co. (Philippines’ Leading Destination Management Company 2023)
- Seda Hotels (Philippines’ Leading Hotel Group 2023)
Regional edition awardees, along with runners-up and previous year’s winners, are qualified for the WTA’s World edition, which will have its grand awards night in Muscat, Oman in November.
Established in 1993, the WTA is now globally recognized as the “ultimate hallmark of excellence” in the tourism and hospitality industries.
To further promote diving in the country, the DOT created the first-ever dive committee to align its dive product development thrusts with its attached agencies, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and the Philippine Commission for Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD).
The DOT next week will also convene the country’s national dive stakeholders in the first-ever Philippine Dive Dialogue in Cebu and consolidate the efforts of the national government, local governments and private sector partners.
On top of this, TIEZA is looking to install additional hyperbaric chambers to improve scuba diving safety standards in strategic dive locations, such as Dumaguete and Daanbantayan in Cebu, by 2024.
The DOT has also launched its own dive expo brand, the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX), the world’s only dive show that combines a dive travel exchange, a business-to-business meeting program, dive conferences and seminars, exhibition booths and familiarization tours in key and emerging Philippine dive destinations.
The fourth edition of PHIDEX is scheduled in February next year. (PNA)