Tokyo, May 6, 2003 -- The country bagged another Best Diving Area Award during the recent Marine Diving Fair 2003 in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan last April 4 and continue to be the most popular dive destinations among the Japanese.

According to the Marine Diving Fair (MDF) committee's survey results, the country has attained a bigger share of the lucrative and fast-growing Japanese divers market now estimated at one million.

Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon is optimistic that with the recent award, the Department of Tourism (DOT's) Visit Philippines Campaign will further be given boost especially in Japan. Gordon said, "Our winning this recognition brings us closer to making the Philippines as Asia's Best Dive Destination."

The Marine Diving Fair is the largest dive fair in Japan. It has attracted 250 organizations and 213 booth exhibitors including the Philippine Department of Tourism. Some 44, 516 divers and other visitors came to MDF during the three-day event. It is organized by Marine Art Center which publishes major dive magazines such as "Marine Diving," Travel Diver," Marine Photo," and "Diving School."

The country has shared the awards with four other diving areas including Maldives, Palau, Saipan, and Tahiti. Booth exhibitors representing these areas had very strong presence in this year's MDF.

Two diving resorts in the country namely the Pacific Cebu Resort in Mactan, Resort, and the Bohol Tropics Resort in Panglao, Bohol were the recipients of the Best Diving Resorts Award, overseas. While, the Blue Coral in Mactan, Cebu and the Pacific Cebu Resort were chosen as the Favorite Dive Operators.

The DOT has participated in MDF along with some private sectors including the Sanyo International, Pacific Cebu Resort International, Blue Coral Mactan, Scuba World, Inc., Scuba World, Inc., Wet Expedition/Cocktail Divers, SEAir, Philippine Airlines (PAL), Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) and DOT-Tokyo.

Furthermore, the country was also voted as the Best Dive Center in Southeast Asia during the recent Boot Fair, the biggest water sports fair in Europe, in Southeast Asia during the recent Boot Fair, the biggest water sports fair in Europe according to the survey conducted by Tauchen, Europe's top dive magazine.

SEA Explorer-Philippines also grabbed the award of best Dive Center in Southeast Asia 2002 for its dive centers and operators in the annual fair field in Dusseldorf last January 16-26.

The survey results also showed that the country boasts of unspoiled treasure, coral reefs teeming with a wide variety of marine life. At present, the country remains to have one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world which offers unending fascination to underwater buffs. (Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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