THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is preparing Antique, Northern Mindanao and Misamis Oriental as the next go-to diving sites to sustain the Philippines’ standing as the leading dive destination in the region.
Tourism secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco made the announcement during the 1st Philippine Tourism Dive Dialogue held at Fili Hotel in Cebu City on Sept. 14 and 15.
Discussions centered on marine environmental protection and conservation; dive niche products: free diving, scuba diving, black water (deep sea) diving, and underwater photography; domestic and international marketing campaign; safety, standards and accreditation of tourism-related enterprises for scuba diving; and investment opportunities.
The DOT, Frasco said, will push for the development of less known but equally beautiful diving sites to expand the dive tourism portfolio in the country, eventually spurring economic growth and provide livelihood opportunities for local residents.
Frasco revealed that through its infrastructure arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), procurement of hyperbaric chambers have started to ensure the safety of divers to further strengthen the dive industry in the country.
“While we continue to support our already well-known destinations, we want to be able to develop new destinations by ensuring that we have the proper infrastructure, government support and regulation,” Frasco said in her keynote address.
She explained that DOT wants to make sure that divers are safe, whether they are beginners, amateurs or professionals thus, the purchase of additional decompression chambers.
“I’m very pleased to inform you that procurement is now underway for delivery by 2024 for additional hyperbaric chambers for the following areas: Dumaguete, Boracay, Puerto Galera and Daanbantayan,” Frasco said.
TIEZA has provided hyperbaric chambers in dive sites across the country to ensure that scuba divers will have access to affordable treatment for decompression sickness by removing excess nitrogen in the body through recompression.
The four operational hyperbaric chambers can be found in Mabini, Batangas; Panglao, Bohol; Mandaue, Cebu; and Puerto Princesa, Palawan. (PNA)/PN