Photos from the DOT Market Development Group
‘THE Philippines have the most species in the least space of anywhere in the planet. Out of the Earth’s 500 coral species, more than 400 are here.”
So boasts the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” TV ad.
So when Dive Resort Travel (DRT), Asia’s largest diving and resort expo, set its foot in Manila for the first time last year, the international diving community was blown away by the country’s lush underwater world.
Being at the center of the world’s Coral Triangle, which is host to rich marine biodiversity, with 7,500 charming islands and an infinite coastline, the whole archipelago is a virtual dive spot.
The country’s marine wonder takes global spotlight once more as the DRT Show returns in a three-day power-packed exposition fromSeptember 9 to 11 at the Megatrade Hall in SM Megamall.
Organized by the Hong Kong and Shanghai-based LX Development Group (LXDG) and supported by the DOT, the event will gather the world’s dive industry stakeholders, which include some 2,000 dive centers, tourism boards, dive tour operators, equipment suppliers and marine conservationists.
The core event is the Philippine Dive Travel Exchange (Dive Travex) where foreign buyers of dive-tours and services will meet local dive-tour sellers in business-to-business (B2B) meetings.
This year’s Travex is expected to be stronger with the presence of the biggest international dive operators from major source markets, such as the United States, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Australia.
To date, 67 buyers have registered and confirmed their participation, the most notable of which are Caradonna and Ultimate Dive Travel from the US, and Dive Adventures and Allways Dive Expeditions from Australia.
New markets, such as India, the Middle East, Italy and Spain, will also be looking into the vibrant local dive market.
An added component is the “Know Your Market Seminars,” led by international buyers, to introduce local sellers of dive products and services to appropriate markets.
Activities include seminars on dive tourism, dive safety training, exhibits of top dive sites, and pep talks and competition on underwater photography featuring the world’s top diver-photographers.
Meanwhile, lectures on marine biodiversity and conservation from the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines and Ocean Quest will highlight the need to conserve and enrich the marine ecosystem.
Adding glitter to the event are Emmy Award-winning underwater IMAX film producers Howard and Michele Hall, French shark conservation specialist Steven Surina and prized Filipino underwater photographer Scott Gutsy Tuason of Squires Bingham.
Tourism authorities recognize scuba diving as a high-value activity that can help spur the economy in the countryside, especially the communities which are host to dive spots.
This adventure watersport also brings attention to the need to preserve the marine and coastal ecosystem for sustainable development and tourism.
Foreign buyers will also be taken to a postevent dive tour to some of the country’s top marine havens, such as Coron in Palawan, Malapascua and Moalboal in Cebu. Negros Oriental DRT Show is also supported by the Tourism Promotions Board, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, and the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving.