Philippines Secures Fifth Consecutive Win as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination at the 2023 World Travel Awards
In an impressive display of the country’s unparalleled beauty and commitment to sustainable tourism development, the Philippines has once again been crowned Asia’s Leading Dive Destination for the fifth consecutive year at the prestigious World Travel Awards (WTA) Asia & Oceania Gala Ceremony 2023. The announcement was made by the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, following the ceremony held at the GEM Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on September 6.
Secretary Frasco, a certified diver and staunch advocate for dive tourism, expressed her enthusiasm for the achievement, stating, “The Philippines’ fifth consecutive win as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination further affirms the unparalleled beauty and megabiodiversity of our country loved by divers and tourists all over the world.” She emphasized the significance of the award as a testament to the country’s commitment to sustainable tourism and collaboration with stakeholders.
“This is a testament to the Philippines’ commitment to sustainable tourism development and our strengthened collaboration with tourism stakeholders. From our ridges to our reefs, you will never run out of reasons to Love the Philippines!” Secretary Frasco added.
Elevating Dive Tourism Portfolio Under President Marcos’ Administration
Under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Secretary Frasco has been at the forefront of elevating the country’s dive tourism industry. The DOT, led by Secretary Frasco, established the first-ever Dive Committee, aligning dive product development and promotion efforts with attached agencies, including the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, and the Philippine Commission for Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD).
The DOT is set to convene the first-ever Philippine Dive Dialogue in Cebu next week, bringing together national dive stakeholders to consolidate efforts from the national government, local governments, and private sector partners.
Infrastructure improvements are also on the horizon, with TIEZA planning the installation of additional hyperbaric chambers to enhance scuba diving safety standards in strategic dive locations such as Dumaguete and Daanbantayan in Cebu by 2024.
Furthermore, the DOT has introduced the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX), the world’s only dive show combining a dive travel exchange, business-to-business (B2B) meeting program, dive conferences, seminars, exhibition booths, and familiarization tours to key and emerging Philippine dive destinations. The fourth edition of PHIDEX is scheduled for February next year.
The DOT continues to support regional dive-centric events and initiatives, fostering the growth of dive tourism across the country. Notable private tourism stakeholders in the Philippines were also recognized at the WTA Asia & Oceania Gala Ceremony 2023, including Okada Manila, Discovery Shores Boracay, Travelite Travel and Tours Co., and Seda Hotels, among others.
2023 World Travel Awards
DOT Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano personally received the WTA Asia’s Leading Dive Destination 2023 trophy on behalf of the Philippines. The award was based on public votes and validation from the group’s panel of travel professionals.
In addition to the dive destination award, various Philippine private tourism stakeholders received accolades in different categories. Regional edition awardees, along with runners-up and previous year’s winners, are qualified for the WTA’s World edition, scheduled for a grand awards night in Muscat, Oman, in November 2023.
Established in 1993, the WTA is globally recognized as the “ultimate hallmark of excellence” in the tourism and hospitality industries, covering country awards, regional awards, and world awards.