DOT banks on diving spots to perk up tourism activities
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - September 15, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  In a bid to accelerate recovery in tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT-7) is capitalizing on diving to lure divers all over the world, as travel restrictions are gradually lifted.

DOT-7 regional director Shalimar Tamano said his office is set to issue updated guidelines for diving operators all over Central Visayas to ensure safety, especially that four of diving sites in the region were cited during the recently held Marine Diving Awards 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.

Moaboal, Cebu, Bohol and Dauin in Negros Oriental again bagged the international diving destination award. This is expected to draw interest among professional divers across the globe, added Tamano.

Garnering 814 out of the 3,572 total votes cast by subscribers of the Marine Diving Magazine, the Philippines was number one for the first time in the Overseas Diving Category. The magazine cited the Philippines as “a first pick for many diving lovers.”

The award was given in ceremonies at the recent Marine Diving Fair 2020 in the district of Ikebukuro in Tokyo.

“This award is a testimony that diving is more fun in the Philippines, with each underwater paradise offering a unique adventure and experience to behold, and return to. Our underwater landscape is a colorful kaleidoscope of nature's living jewels, one that divers cannot find anywhere else," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

Participating in the diving fair, the Department of Tourism (DOT) featured in its booth underwater videos of various Philippine diving spots. Five Philippine resorts held online meetings with visitors.

Marine Diving Magazine cited the diving sites in Cebu, Bohol, Moalboal, and Busuanga which are teeming with whale sharks, snappers, dugong, other big fishes, large schools of sardines and long mackerels, and other rare and endemic species. These diving sites, the magazine said, have “captured the hearts of many divers and make them want to revisit the Philippines again and again. And with its easy access from Japan and reasonable tour prices, the Philippines is no doubt a first pick for many diving lovers.”

Among the other popular diving sites in the country are Malapascua off the northern tip of Cebu Island, Anilao in Batangas, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, Donsol in Sorsogon, and Dauin in Negros Oriental. It also includes the Apo Reef Natural Park on the western waters of Occidental Mindoro, the world's second largest contiguous coral reef system, and the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park which is a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site.

The Philippines has bagged similar awards such as both Asia and the World’s Leading Diving Destination Awards in the Prestigious World Travel Awards in 2019.

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