The Philippines is developing more dive spots and improving existing ones as part of an aggressive bid to sustain the inroads gained over the years.
The latest offering, Romblon-Boracay dive and island hopping circuit combining Romblon and Boracay, is showing great prospects, said Maria Margarita Nograles, chief operating officer of Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DoT).
Emerging dive sites including Romblon, Marinduque, Batanes, Siquijor and Leyte are gaining popularity, she added.
“Diving is a priority product. Marketing and promotions over the years are paying off as the foreign market is responding very well with more divers coming to the Philippines,” shared Nograles.
Indeed, the DoT reported that foreign dive visitors last year contributed 37 billion pesos (US$651.41 million) or over 17.5 per cent of the Philippines’ total tourism receipts.
Philippines as a divers’ paradise is strong in Europe and North Asia given the endless possibilities in the country with over 7,000 islands, as well as its location in the Coral Triangle.
To sustain existing markets and tap new ones, Nograles said the country participated in eight international dive shows and will participate in two more this year – the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association in the US, and the Dive, Resort and Travel Show in Hong Kong.
TPB is also organising fam trips for tour operators, DMCs and influencers to showcase various diving products in the country.
At the recent first Dive Dialogue initiated by the DoT in Cebu, tourism secretary Christina Garcia Frasco shared that to ensure that scuba divers will have access to affordable treatment for decompression sickness, hyperbaric chambers have been provided in popular dive sites in Mabini, Batangas; Panglao, Bohol; Mandaue, Cebu; and Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Additional hyperbaric chambers will be placed in Dumaguete, Boracay, Puerto Galera, and Daanbantayan Island, Frasco said.
The country’s own dive expo brand, the Philippine International Dive Expo – combining a dive travel exchange, B2B meeting programme, dive conferences and seminars, exhibition booths, and fam tours to key and emerging dive destinations – will enter its fourth edition next year.