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MANILA The Philippines is gearing up for the global diving community’s grand gathering at the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) 2024, scheduled to take place from February 23 to 25, 2024 at the World Trade Center Manila in Pasay City.

With the theme “Heart of Asia’s Diving: Collaboration for the Ocean Community,” the event, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT), has evolved into the Philippines’ largest platform for diving enthusiasts, industry experts, and stakeholders.

Established by the DOT in 2019, PHIDEX stands out as the sole event in the region with a Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) where business-to-business (B2B) meetings between international dive tour operators and Philippine dive industry stakeholders are facilitated.

“I am delighted to welcome the global diving community to PHIDEX 2024, a celebration of our nation’s position as the Heart of Asia’s Diving. This year’s theme reflects our commitment to fostering collaborative partnerships between local and international experts for the development and sustainability of Philippine diving. PHIDEX serves as a vital platform for the exchange of knowledge and best practices, ensuring the global sustainability of ocean tourism,” expressed Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco during one of the preparatory meetings of the expo.

Dive organizations and companies from various countries, including China, Japan, Taiwan, France, Israel, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Australia, Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, South Korea, and Qatar, have confirmed their attendance at the PHIDEX B2B meetings.

Meanwhile, a dive conference will serve as a comprehensive platform for networking and knowledge-sharing across various sectors of the dive industry.

Top billing this year’s conference are Laurent Ballesta from France, 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year who featured the horseshoe crab in Palawan in his award-winning portfolio, and filmmaker Oshim Somers, who will debut on the event his Cannes-award-winning underwater film on the Philippines.

The participation of David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes, leading photographers of National Geographic, is likewise highly anticipated.

With the objective to highlight the Philippines’ competitive advantage as the center of the Coral Triangle, PHIDEX seeks to foster stronger collaboration between local and international dive experts, and to provide a platform for exchanging knowledge and best practices to sustain ocean tourism globally.

“While we showcase and invite visitors to the Philippines as the center of the Coral Triangle, let us unite in preserving our underwater treasures and collectively contribute to the well-being of our oceans. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the future of dive tourism and conservation,” Secretary Frasco added.

It may be noted that under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., through the initiatives of the Department of Tourism, diving has come to the forefront as one of the priority tourism products of the country. Relatedly, the Philippines has been consistently awarded for diving, the latest being the World’s Leading Dive Destination 2023 by the World Travel Awards (WTA).

The Philippines’ position of significance in the dive tourism landscape has culminated in the DOT’s conduct of the 1st Philippine Tourism Dive Dialogue last year in Cebu City, which paved the way for the convergence of hundreds of participants across the country from the public and private sectors and the academe to gain insights and foster collaboration with industry experts and stakeholders.

In reference to the historical relevance of diving as an important component of the Philippine tourism industry, the DOT administration has pushed for the strengthening of the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD).

Secretary Frasco further pushed to intensify Dive Tourism through the issuance of Department Order 2024-0016 which mandates the creation of a Dive Committee, a technical working group that would address the alignment of technical challenges of dive tourism between the DOT and attached agencies– Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), and the PCSSD. This hopes to harmonize programs, projects, and activities of TIEZA, TPB, and PCSSD and come up with an annual strategic roadmap for dive tourism.

As part of its initiatives to further support the promotion of dive tourism in the Philippines, the DOT, through its Office of Product and Market Development (OPMD) and various Regional Offices (RO), has invited regional dive stakeholders to join the exhibit showcasing different Philippine dive destinations, equipment, apparel, resorts, and more.

To date, 72 DOT and non-DOT-sponsored organizations have registered in advance to participate in the exhibit.

Familiarization Tours post-PHIDEX will offer international buyers and the media a firsthand experience of Philippine dive products and services.

To give participants a seamless experience, a dedicated Secretariat Booth will serve as a one-stop-shop for DOT-related concerns, official space for high-level meetings, VIP meet and greet sessions, and showcasing general information on the Department’s various programs in support of the country’s dive tourism industry.


Published:February 22, 2024

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