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The Philippines was once again hailed as Asia’s leading beach and dive destination at the 2021 World Travel Awards (WTA).

This is the Philippines’ fifth time to win Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and the third time in a row since 2019 to win Asia’s Leading Dive Destination award.

Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this boosts the agency’s efforts to keep the Philippines as a top-of-mind destination for foreign tourists as it awaits the resumption of international leisure travel to the country, consistent with its “More Fun Awaits” global campaign.

“We are elated that the country’s pristine beaches and mesmerizing dive spots have once again been cited as the best in Asia by the prestigious 2021 World Travel Awards,” she said Tuesday. “We share this recognition with our tourism stakeholders, local government units, partner agencies, and all Filipinos who have been helping us promote our country’s attractions, products, and culture.”

Some of the country’s top beach destinations, such as Boracay in Aklan, Siargao in Surigao del Norte, and El Nido and Amanpulo in Palawan, have already opened to domestic tourists and are ready to welcome foreign tourists once international borders reopen, the DOT said.

The agency also continues to identify potential destinations that may be developed for dive tourism.

Among the country’s top diving spots are the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan, Anilao in Batangas, Malapascua, and Moalboal in Cebu, Balicasag, Panglao, and Anda in Bohol, and Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro.

Anilao is open to domestic tourists from areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ as long as they have a negative RT-PCR test result, proof of reservation, valid ID, and medical clearance.

The DOT said only MGCQ destinations are allowed to accomodate recreational divers, with the exception of Anilao, which is under GCQ.

“Based on Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving health and safety protocols only MGCQ destinations allowed to accomodate recreational divers. GCQ only Anilao is allowed. All are still subject to local government unit restrictions/issuances,” it said.

In Mindanao, DOT Region 10 Director Marie Elaine Salvaña-Unchuan recommended visiting the pristine dive spots in Camiguin and Balingoan, Talisayan, Medina, Magsaysay, and Gingoog in Misamis Oriental.

“I am very happy that we were given that citation. We have been pursuing dive tourism in Camiguin and Misamis Oriental and we are very happy to report that Region 10 has world-class dive sites,” she said.

Camiguin is set to open its shores to tourists this coming October 25.

The WTA aims to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

The Philippines is still in the running for the following World categories of the 28th World Travel Awards:

·World’s Leading Beach Destination 2021: Philippines
·World’s Leading Dive Destination 2021: Philippines
·World’s Leading Island Destination 2021: Siargao, Philippines
·World’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2021: Intramuros, Philippines
·World’s Leading Tourist Board 2021: Philippines, Department of Tourism

Voting runs until midnight of October 25, 2021 via (PNA)

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