By Manny V. Ilagan, OIC, PDOT-Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES – The Philippines wrapped up a very successful participation at the Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association (DEMA) Show held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 19 – 22, 2014.
The Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board and TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure & Enterprise Zone Authority) partnered with sixteen private sector representatives and made its strong presence felt at the four-day annual trade-only event for qualified professionals that attracted an estimated close to 10,000 attendees.
The Philippines’ 40 feet x 50 feet booth teemed with an panel displays featuring the country’s top dive sites and destinations and amazing images of the best marine life and underwater scenes found in the country. This attracted a continuous stream of visitor traffic throughout the event.
Dive maps and tour packages of the major dive tour operators were made to the visitors, who inquired about the Philippines most popular dive destinations specifically Puerto Galera, Anilao, Malapascua, Moalboal and Dumaguete.
In addition, three different seminars on Philippine diving and underwater photography in the country’s top dive sites took place for two consecutive days. Mike Bartick, a professional marine wildlife photographer based in Anilao, Philippines, presented “Peak of the Action” seminar focusing on the aspects of underwater photography.
Marine photojournalist and dive guide Ethan Daniels talked about the “Anilao Great Biodiversity, A Heaven for Underwater Photography,” about Anilao’s unique marine habitats, flora and fauna. Underwater photographer and videographer Robert Yin, on the other hand, discussed “The Latest on Philippine Diving” and presented that abundance and vastness of good dive sites in the Philippines.
The Department of Tourism’s private sector partners enjoyed and generated a lot of inquiries and bookings especially Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Atlantis Philippines-Dive Resort & Liveaboards, Crystal Blue Resort, Buceo Anilao Beach & Dive Resort, and Punta Bulata Resort and Spa.
The other private sector participants that actively promoted the dive tourism industry in the Philippines include Amun Ini Beach Resort & Spa, Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort, Discovery Fleet Corporation, El Galleon Beach Resort & Hotel with Asia Divers, Kasai Village Dive & Spa Resort, Magic Island Dive Resort, Inc. Philippine Airlines, Sea Explorers Philippines, Scandi Divers Resort, Thresher Shark Divers, Balicasag island Dive Resort and Turtle Bay Dive Resort.
DOT’s participation at this year’s DEMA Show is in line with the tourism agency’s objective of sustaining the country’s presence in the international tourism scene and to actively promote the Philippines’ prime dive destinations. It was also part of the “Visit the Philippines year” 2015 campaign that features travel and adventure in diving hubs like Anilao, Puerto Galera, Tubbataha Reef, Malapascua and other dive destinations among other attractions and events available in the Philippines for tourists and visitors to enjoy.
Strategically located in the center of the world’s coral triangle, the Philippines offer a wealth of diving opportunities throughout its 7,107 islands. With a unique combination of deep wall and shallow reef diving, several wrecks and an amazing abundance and diverse marine life, the Philippines is considered as among the premier diving destinations in the world.