By Analou De Vera
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has vowed to promote new dive destinations in order for the Philippines to become more well-known in the international diving scene.
“We will continue to organize familiarization tours, especially to the emerging dive destinations because what we want is to expand the footprint for dive tourism in the country,” said Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr.
Bengzon said that the Philippines already have dive destinations that were already considered as “established” such as Anilao, Batangas; Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Masbate, among others.
“We already have the established destinations but the challenge that we have now is to make sure that we also look at the other new destinations, so that we could help them develop in a balanced and sustainable way,” said Bengzon.
The tourism official said that divers “have always been considered a high-yield market.”
“The challenge for us now is to expand the current base, which we estimate at about 350,000 out of the seven million foreign visitors [last year] and also to make them stay longer and spend more,” said Bengzon.
“Apart from the dive packages, we would like to offer land tours so that ultimately, we’re able to extend their stay here in the Philippines and get [more] revenues,” he added.
Recently, the DOT hosted the first Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) that showcased the premier diving spots in the country. Bengzon assured that the said event will not be the last of its kind.
“The commitment of the DOT is to continue to provide platforms for business to business exchange between the destinations and the foreign buyers or the agents,” he said.
“And also from the promotion standpoint, to make sure that we increase the level of awareness of the global diving community on what we have to offer,” added Bengzon.