Philippine scuba diving was recently ranked and awarded by Japan's leading diving magazines as one of the world's top 5 diving areas.
The country also made it to the list of Top 10 Most Desirable Destination, Best Dive Resort (Bohol Tropics) and Favorite Dive Operator (Blue Coral, Cebu), according to a survey participated in by more than 50,000 Japanese dive enthusiasts.
Philippine Scuba Diving
Divers from Japan are seen to rise during the summer months as more vacation packages and even lower fares are being offered.
Survey voters included readers of top dive magazines in Japan namely; Marine Diving, Travel Dive, Marine Photo and I love Diving. These publications by Marine Art Co., Ltd., organizers of the 17th MDF, are best-selling magazines catering to serious divers in Japan.
Given at the recent 17th Marine Diving Fair (MDF) held in Tokyo, the largest diving fair in Asia, the MDF Awards are among the highly-acknowledged commendations for must-visit dive destinations in the world.
More than 65 countries representing various destinations, tourism boards, airlines, resorts, dive operators and other tourism-related companies were present in the 17th MDF, attracting close to 100,000 visitors.
“There are more than one million Japanese divers who annually travel worldwide returning to their familiar dive spots or in search of new locations. The country in gaining momentum in this niche activity signals our strong efforts in making people aware of Philippine scuba diving and the Philippines' diverse marine life that is worthy of every traveler’s discovery,” said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.
Durano added the Department of Tourism (DOT) sees these achievements as a positive result of the promotional campaigns specifically targeted for this market segment.
Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque Jr. added, “The Philippine participation in the annual MDF wants to maintain and further the Philippines’ popularity among the Japanese divers.
“This is not the first time for Philippine scuba diving to win the award; we have always been in the Top 10 best dive destinations. The positive feedback we received affirms the country’s standing as a premier dive destination.”
Head of Team Japan, Director Benito Bengzon said, “The Philippines remains to be a favorite dive destination among the Japanese. For several years, Blue Coral Resort in Cebu has been voted as the number one Best Dive Operator.”
This year, the Philippine scuba diving delegation exhibit booth featured a whale shark or ‘butanding’ backdrop and several sea water aquariums featuring small sea creatures found only in the Philippines, such as the multi-colored jelly fish.
Bengzon said “The Philippine participants are very happy with the outcome of the country's participation to the MDF. Optimism was evident despite the economic challenges, with their clients asking for return trips, and many prospective clients signifying strong interest.”
Part of the Philippine delegation was Kasai Village Resort from Moalboal, popular for their expertise in taking divers around spectacular wrecks in Cebu.
General Manager Michael Pettersson said, “Moalboal is one of the oldest centers of Philippine scuba diving in the country. The sites here are famous for the pygmy seahorse and frog fish, to name a few.”
Kasai Village Resort will now be represented in Japan by Metropolitan Tours, one of Japan’s biggest tour operators.