THE Philippines is the newest venue for the China-Hong Kong dive show franchise, DRT Show, strengthening the country’s hold on the China and East Asian shorthaul dive market.
DRT Show Philippines 2015, also called the Philippines Dive Expo, will take place from September 11-13 at SMX Manila, with a B2B component to attract international tour operators and dive training agencies, said Rowena Sorioso, senior tourism operations officer, dive market development group, Department of Tourism (DoT).
Eighty per cent of the 500,000 divers certified in the past three years come from China, Sorioso pointed out, adding that the Philippines also aims to strengthen its presence in the “rich shorthaul markets” of South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan.
Because of its relative affordability, the Philippines is an attractive diving destination for medium and advanced level divers seeking additional certification, say dive experts. The Chinese have also invested in dive facilities in Bohol.
The DoT has long sought to leverage diving as a key niche and in 4Q2014, organising a fam trip for Russian operators to visit Cebu and Bohol to woo Russian luxury divers.
Meanwhile, the Philippines Commission of Sports Scuba Diving, an attached agency of the DoT, has been refining accreditation procedures for local dive operators and installing additional hyperbaric chambers across key locations last year to enhance safety standards.