Philippines wins big at 2019 World Travel Awards
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - October 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines continues to gain recognition from the international travel and tourism community as the country bagged two awards at the Asia and Oceania leg of the 2019 World Travel Awards held in Vietnam.

Among the awards the country took home were Asia’s leading tourism board award given to the Philippine Department of Tourism(DOT) and Asia’s leading dive destination award.

The DOT was lauded for its significant increase in visitor arrivals the past year, beating 11 counterparts from other countries also nominated for the award.

“We are greatly honored and thankful for this recent recognition for the Philippines at the World Travel Awards. A triumph as great as this simply could not be possible without the combined hard work from the government, industry partners, and tourism stakeholders in realizing a more upward tourism industry for the country. This is not the DOT’s alone but for all Filipinos to celebrate,”Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

The Philippines registered a total of 5,554,950 foreign visitor arrivals from January to August this year a 14.08 percent increase from a year ago.

In August alone, the Philippines registered a total of 702,843 visitor arrivals,a 27.54 percent hike from the 551,088 arrivals in the same month last year.

This puts the country on track to meet its foreign arrivals target of 8.2 million for 2019 under the National Tourism Development Plan(NTDP).

Meanwhile, the World Travel Awards also recognized the Philippines as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination for the first time, following a number nominations for both Asia’s Leading Dive Destination and the World’s Leading Dive Destination award categories 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,” Puyat said.

Dive tourism is identified by the DOT as one of the key areas in the NTDP that can positively affect industry growth in terms of increased visitor count, extended length of stay, and higher tourism revenue, among others.

Last month, the DOT launched its first Philippine International Dive Expo in line with promoting the country’s dive spots.

“What we will do is we will continue to organize familiarization tours especially to the emerging dive destinations. What we want is to expand the footprint of dive tourism in the country,”Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said.

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