PH named Asia's top beach, dive destination anew in 2021 World Travel Awards

Published October 19, 2021, 12:32 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Known for its pristine beaches and world-class diving sites, the Philippines once again stood out amid the pandemic after the 28th World Travel Awards recognized the country as this year’s leading beach and diving destination in Asia.

Sombrero Reef in Batangas is a diving site where gorgonians, black coral, shells, rays, grunts, jacks, snappers, and a great variety of soft corals are scattered all over the place. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism)

The Department of Tourism (DOT) said this is the Philippines’ fifth time to be named Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and the third time in a row since 2019 to win as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed the latest recognition by the prestigious World Travel Awards which she said will help revive the country’s tourism industry which has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic.

“This will boost our efforts to keep the Philippines as a top-of-mind destination for foreign tourists as we await the resumption of international leisure travel to the country, consistent with our ‘More Fun Awaits’ global campaign,” Puyat said.

“We share this recognition with our tourism stakeholders, local government units, partner agencies, and all Filipinos who have been helping us promote our country’s attractions, products, and culture,” she added.

Some of the country’s top beach destinations such as Boracay in Aklan, Siargao in Surigao del Norte, and El Nido and Amanpulo in Palawan, have already opened to local tourists and are ready to welcome foreign travelers once international borders reopen.

El Nido is a Philippine municipality on Palawan Island. It is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines for its absolutely stunning islands and beaches. (Photo by Erwin Lim, courtesy of the Department of Tourism)

Puyat said the Department has been identifying potential destinations in the Philippines that may be developed for dive tourism.

Dive circuits have already been enhanced by the DOT in the country’s top diving spots such as the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan, Anilao in Batangas, Malapascua and Moalboal in Cebu, Balicasag, Panglao and Anda in Bohol, and Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro.

Anilao in Batangas has some of the best scuba diving for underwater photography in the world, particularly for rare underwater critters and new species of fish. (Photo by Evelyn Go, courtesy of the Department of Tourism)

The Department also assured that the safety of visitors remains prioritized with the strict implementation of health protocols in destinations that have opened their doors to guests.

Data from the DOT showed that more than half or about 65.53 percent of tourism workers in the country have already received their COVID-19 jabs as of Oct. 16.

Panglao Island, located in Bohol Sea in Central Visayas, is a famous tourist destination known for its white sand beaches and world-class diving sites. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism)

Meanwhile, the Philippines is still in the running for the following World categories of this year’s World Travel Awards:

World’s Leading Beach Destination 2021: Philippines

World’s Leading Dive Destination 2021: Philippines

World’s Leading Island Destination 2021: Siargao, Philippines

World’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2021: Intramuros, Philippines

World’s Leading Tourist Board 2021: Philippines, Department of Tourism

Voting runs until midnight of October 25, Monday via the World Travel Awards’ website at

Established in 1993, the World Travel Awards aims to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.