THE Philippines has been recognized anew as Asia’s leading beach destination and Asia’s leading dive destination.

“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 [WTA],” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat. “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,” she added.

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

The Philippines is also running in the categories of World’s Leading Beach Destination 2021 and World’s Leading Dive Destination 2021. Other destinations also looking for the thumbs up are Siargao, for World’s Leading Island Destination 2021; Intramuros, for World’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2021; while the DOT is running under the category World’s Leading Tourist Board 2021.

Voting for the world categories is ongoing until midnight of October 25, 2021 at https://bit.ly/3BYSkEU.

The DOT chief said the awards “will boost our efforts to keep the Philippines as a top-of-mind destination for foreign tourists as we await the resumption of international leisure travel to the country, consistent with our ‘More Fun Awaits’ global campaign.”

Vaccinating tourism workers

She cited some of the country’s top beach destinations, for instance, like 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.

As such, the DOT, with the help of the National Task Force against Covid-19, are helping fast-track the vaccination of tourism workers in key destinations in the country. This is to help prepare them not just for domestic tourism, but for the eventual easing of travel restrictions for international tourists. As of October 15, about 65.53 percent, or 276,248 of 421,559 targeted tourism workers in the country, have received their Covid-19 jabs.

Romulo Puyat said, “We are constantly  identifying potential destinations that may be developed for dive tourism.” Top diving spots in the country include 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.

Created by the London-based World Media and Events Ltd., the WTA has come to be known as the “Oscars” of the hospitality industry. Every year, it honors industry players through its regional gala ceremonies across hundreds of categories.  To be included in the awards, interested participants must enter themselves online. The entries then go to a panel of experts from the World Travel and Tourism Council for evaluation against a set of criteria. Approved entries are listed in the categories as finalists. Anyone can vote for the finalists, although more weight is given to travel industry voters.

According to the WTA, “Despite the ongoing global challenges, the appetite for travel has reached unprecedented levels.  Evidence is reflected in the [awards’] annual voting figures. In 2019, we reported a record 1.95 million votes cast, a 17-percent increase on the previous record. In 2020, a record 2.03 million votes were cast, with more people taking part than in any other year of WTA’s 28-year history, representing a huge vote of confidence for the travel and tourism industry.”





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