New markets eyed for dive tourism

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing to attract new markets for dive tourism as it is set to host a number of business-to-business (B2B) meetings between foreign and local stakeholders.

In a statement, the DOT said these B2B meetings would be a part of the Dive Resort Travel (DRT) Show Philippines on Sept. 7-9 at the SM Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong City.

“During the DRT Show, one of the largest international diving exposition, the DOT will simultaneously host the Dive Travel Mart (DTM) during which local stakeholders like dive centers, shops, and resorts will sit down with foreign dive tour operators and travel agents for B2B meetings,” the DOT said.

Tourism Undersecretary and spokesperson Benito Bengzon Jr. said the DOT decided to facilitate B2B meetings between local and international stakeholders during the DRT Show Philippines to take advantage of the expo’s huge attendance of prospective markets.

“We look forward to the arrival of some 100 dive travel agents, operators, and media from opportunity markets including France, Italy, Spain, the Nordic Region, Middle East and India. These new markets now see the Philippines as a richly-diverse destination for underwater adventure,” Bengzon said.

The DRT network comprises top-level exhibitors from 48 countries, with each show generating visitor traffic of at least 20,000 dive enthusiasts.

“Through the Dive Travel Mart, we aim to strengthen the Philippines’ position as a world-class dive travel and business hub, where everyone can experience first-hand dive products and services, at the same time, find tour dive sites accessible,” Bengzon added.

Bengzon also disclosed that the DOT has developed other viable segments of dive tourism, such as technical diving and freediving, which will be offered in the B2B meetings.

He added that the Philippine booth at the DRT would house at least 50 local sellers representing establishments in various dive destinations all over the archipelago, which aims to develop linkages with foreign buyers.
He said more free-diving events have been taking place in the country following its endorsement by world champion and celebrity free-diver Guillaume Nery of as the “Freediving Capital of Asia” last year.

To provide a taste of “ultimate dive tourism experience,” the DTM will culminate in a five-day, four night dive familiarization tour of selected diving destinations on Sept.10-14.

Fam-tour participants will plunge in dive sites of their choice, among them: Anilao, Batangas; Puerto Galera, Mindoro; Dumaguete, Negros Oriental; Bohol; and Malapascua and Moalbal in Cebu; Siquijor Island; and Southern Leyte.

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) – July 17, 2018