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Philippines boosts dive tourism with sustainable initiatives at PHIDEX 2024

PHIDEX

DOT emphasizes sustainable dive tourism at PHIDEX 2024, aiming to enhance the Philippines’ status as a top global dive destination.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable tourism development initiatives in the Philippines, particularly in the development and promotion of the country’s dive tourism.

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco made the statement during the opening ceremony of the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) 2024 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM).

“As one of the megabiodiverse countries in the world, we are home to more than 500 species of corals and 2,000 species of fish. Therefore, this distinction for the Philippines we take to heart with a firm commitment to ensure not just the marketability, but more importantly, the sustainability of our dive industry,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said, noting that in 2023, dive tourism contributed more than P73 billion to the country’s economy, or almost twice the P37 billion revenue generated from the industry in 2022.

“United under the guidance and visionary leadership of our President, we can look forward to yielding additional revenue from this industry, reinforcing the Philippine position as the World’s Premier Dive Destination and tourism’s role, as now one of the strongest pillars of our economy, providing livelihood and employment for millions of Filipinos,” she enthused.

In his message delivered by the Tourism Secretary, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. cited the private sector’s pivotal role in the government’s sustainable tourism development initiatives, as he wished success on the three-day expo.

“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the private sector participation in ensuring that the Philippines remains a premier destination for diving enthusiasts and professionals from around the globe. Through strategic investments in infrastructure and sustainable tourism initiatives, the government will continue to elevate our country’s standing as a hotspot of biodiversity and underwater adventure,” the President added.

Fully cognizant of the prospects of dive tourism, the DOT through the leadership of Secretary Frasco has proactively led interventions to further develop and promote the sector.

In addition to organizing the PHIDEX, the DOT introduced various dive festivals and programs in several regions across the country in support of dive tourism, including the successful inaugural Philippine Tourism Dive Dialogue (PTDD) last September 2023 in Cebu.

DIVE TOURISM CONTRIBUTES P73 BILLION TO PH ECONOMY IN 2023 FRASCO

“We have also expanded our dive tourism offerings to emerging and lesser-known destinations, bringing our total to approximately 120 dive destinations across the Philippines today,” Secretary Frasco added.

Further, to prioritize a safe and enjoyable experience for divers, the DOT through its Dive Committee and infrastructure arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), has committed to providing additional hyperbaric chambers in strategic locations across the country, including Boracay Island, Camiguin, Daanbantayan in Cebu, Dumaguete, and Puerto Galera.

Addressing guests and participants during the opening ceremony, Secretary Frasco thanked industry partners for helping shape the country’s dive tourism industry.

“I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our exhibit partner, Underwater 360, organizer of ADEX, and to all the participants, our fellow ocean lovers, dive enthusiasts, exhibitors, speakers, and buyers. Your shared love and dedication to advancing the Philippine diving industry has helped shape this groundbreaking event,” she said.

The opening day of PHIDEX 2024 saw the attendance and support of several distinguished guests, including Ambassador of Malaysia to the Philippines His Excellency (H.E) Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino; Ambassador of Thailand to the Philippines H.E Tull Traisorat; Deputy Speaker Duke Frasco; Eastern Samar Governor Ben P. Evardone; Batangas District Representative Gerville “Jinky” Luistro; and Mr. John Thet, Chief Executive Officer of ADEX, who led the ribbon cutting rites with Secretary Frasco.

In fostering a public-private approach to protecting the environment and promoting the country’s economic growth through tourism, the Department entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Asian Conservation Foundation Inc., Blue Alliance Philippines, and Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute.

Signed between Secretary Frasco and the leaders of non-government organizations (NGOs) and witnessed by Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano and OIC-Undersecretary Verna Buensuceso, the agreement covers areas of collaboration between the DOT and the NGOs, including the development of programs for environmental sustainability; conduct joint activities for marine environmental protection and conservation; support and participation in the parties’ promotional events and marketing activities; and designation of a focal person or specific office to handle smooth coordination on all matters arising from the agreement.

For three days, PHIDEX 2024 will offer expansive networking prospects for dive decision-makers, communities, and individuals through value-added components, including the Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) business-to-business meetings, Dive Conference, and Dive Exhibit featuring the country’s best dive offerings.

To showcase the country’s richness in world-class diving sites and experiences, the DOT will also host post-PHIDEX familiarization tours for international dive operators and invited media.

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