DOT to rally dive tourism to domestic mart (Philippines News Agency)

A tourism official said that domestic tourists slightly fell behind foreign tourists in patronizing diving as a leisure activity despite better access to the Philippines’ natural resources.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Market Development Group chief tourism operations officer Glen Agustin told reporters in the sidelines of the Dive Resort Travel (DRT) Philippines Show 2015 that although domestic tourists had exceeded this year’s target of acquiring 54.6-million arrivals, very little were involved in dive tourism.

The DRT, slated on Sept. 11 to 13 at SM Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong City, is a three-day travel fare that gathers diving enthusiasts, marine conservationists and anyone with a passion for the underwater world under one roof.

At least 2, 000 international dive exhibitors, dive enthusiasts, and marine conversationalists from around the globe are expected to attend the event which will feature a travel exchange, seminars and workshops, a photo gallery, familiarization tours, and other special events.

Aside from organizing a dive show with a lot of foreign visitors, buyers, exhibitors that go with us to other countries, we’re also here to try to encourage Filipinos-we’d like to improve domestic numbers, Agustin said.

If you’re going to listen to the speakers we’ve had, they are very much sold in the Philippines being a dive haven. We’d like our countrymen to imbibe that (too), he added.

Agustin said that whole leisure divers make up about five percent of total foreign tourists visiting the Philippines this year, domestic tourists into leisure diving was much less.

He pointed out that one way to address the challenge was to continuously improve dive shops’ and dive resorts’ accommodation standards, improve data gathering , and promote awareness especially through social media.

We’re not only (letting) the world see the Philippines as a dive region but even our kababayans, the DOT official said.

Hopefully, through these efforts we make them more interested in scuba diving, he added. (PNA)

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