Last November 28, the Philippines was adjudged as the world's leading dive destination at the World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala 2019 held at the Landmark Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman.

The country bested eight other dive destinations from all around the globe. The other destination which ranked under the Philippines in terms of dive spots were Azores Islands, Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Galápagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Maldives, and Mexico, says the Department of Tourism said in a press release. Maldives was the previous title holder and it received the same award four times in the past.

It is the country's first ever leading dive destination award.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo - Puyat noted that aside from being dubbed by marine experts and scientists as the heart of marine biodiversity in the world, our country is home to the densest concentration of coral reef life and staggering variety of marine species.

Amanpulo Resort was hailed as the World's Leading Dive Resort at the gala event held on the 28th of November (November 29 in the Philippines), beating eight competing resorts in the Maldives, Fiji Islands, Belize, Cayman Islands, Palau, China, and Egypt.

Tourism Regulation Undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr. said in an interview with WTA that it is a great win for the Philippines, adding that "the Philippine government has been working very hard to position itself as a sustainable destination, more fun destination."

The Philippines bagged two awards, the other award being Asia's Leading Dive Destination for Asia and Oceania in Vietnam after multiple nominations since 2006.

Puyat added that through the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD), they also ensure that diving safety and operating standards in the country are at par with the rest of the world.

He noted that with this award, the Philippines is validated as truly a premier dive destination.

Last October, the gala night for Asia and Oceania took place in Vietnam.

Dive tourism is emphasized by the DOT as one of the key areas in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) that can positively affect industry growth.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat stated that the Philippines is home to the highest concentration of coral reef life and a vast array of marine species.

Meanwhile, DOT was also recognized as Asia's Leading Tourism Board for its efforts to increase visitor arrivals for the Philippines in the previous year. 

The World Travel Awards is duly recognized by leaders in the tourism, airline, hotel and hospitality sectors around the world.

Since 1993, the prestigious award-giving ceremony has recognized brands and organizations from the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries all over the world that raise the bar for global tourism standards through an annual Grand Tour and a series of 6 regional gala ceremonies. A final gala ceremony concludes the tour.

The DOT has hosted a number of dive-focused events, including the Anilao Underwater Shootout photography competition and the Travel Trade Support through Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) business-to-business meetings to highlight dive tourism.

Also, located in the Philippines is the Banwa Private Island which seized the World's Leading Luxury Private Island Resort award during the Final Gala ceremony.

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