Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat led in welcoming hundreds of international and local diving enthusiasts to the 4th edition of Diving Resorts and Travel (DRT) at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City last weekend.
As promised, the DOT treated attendees to an “ultimate underwater tourism” experience with an on-site familiarization tour of some of the country’s dive destinations, as part of the Philippines Dive Travel Mart (DTM) that was held jointly with the DRT.
“A very important feature of the show is a five-day familiarization tour for all of the buyers. These activity offers a truly holistic experience of diving in the Philippines,” said Puyat who flew all the way from Zamboanga del Norte on Saturday to personally thanked the DRT-DTM participants.
Among the dive sites visited were: Anilao, Batangas; Puerto Galera, Mindoro; Dumaguete, Negros Oriental; Bohol; and Malapascua and Moalbal in Cebu; Siquijor Island; and Southern Leyte.
The Tourism chief expressed confidence that the international exposure will make the Philippines a globally-competitive diving destination, as she touted the country’s marine bio-diversity, acknowledged by experts as among the richest in the world.
“We have it all – from the rarest and smallest critters to the largest pelagic fish, colorful reefs, and many others. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing fun dive, honing your photography skills, doing technical or cave dives, or training to free dive, we invite you to take on our dive sites,” said Puyat.
At least 26 countries participated as represented by 45 local exhibitors and sellers, 58 international buyers, and 12 international media, featuring the latest technology in underwater photography, snorkeling and diving gears, and business-to-business (B2B) opportunities for the sellers, which according to organizers, generated about 1,638 business leads.
“We are thankful that the DRT Show Philippines 2018 has served as an effective platform for DTM for the convergence of international tourism stakeholders, product updates, B2B meetings between local dive tour operators, foreign buyers and dive tour operators, and education,” said Puyat.
“Through this initiative, the Department aims to sustain the competitiveness of our dive tourism products through the continued introduction and development of other segments in our product portfolio such as free diving and technical diving, taking into consideration the needs of established and new markets,” she added.
Meanwhile, Puyat told reporters the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will have to ascertain if diving will be permitted with the “soft reopening” of Boracay Island this coming October 26.
“We will have to see if diving can be included when we reopen Boracay,” said Puyat.
In line with the Boracay Interagency Task Force’s decision to reopen Boracay in several phases, water recreational activities such as use of jet skis will be allowed at a designated time after the October 26 soft opening. The proposed schedule to permit diving activities, however, will still be discussed during the task force meeting on September 28.