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Department of Tourism goes digital for Philippine Dive Expo

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is embracing the new normal through its virtual Philippine International Dive Expo. The online initiative is aimed at diving hobbyists and business sectors and has been conceptualised to bolster good mental health during the lingering pandemic. 

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat explained that PHIDEX is looking to bring more diving enthusiasts, industry professionals and experts on a single online platform. 

The PHIDEX online version has been made completely free of charge in an effort to support the diving community in today’s global crisis. DOT and Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) accredited establishments will not be charged for participating in the virtual Marketplace and Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX). 

TRAVEX is a business-to-business (B2B) networking program via online video conferencing to be attended by at least 100 diving agents, operators and club leaders. Participation is expected from reputable key markets such as the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The platform uses algorithm-based matchmaking for business leads generation. 

It is estimated that 100 local and foreign exhibitors will participate in the contactless marketplace under TRAVEX. They will be offering the latest deals, dive holiday packages and promos from different diving resorts, operators, shops, and centres. Underwater photography gear dealers and dive training agencies will also share their package deals to virtual attendees.

The dive conference and panel discussions are webinars and online forums showcasing both international and local experts on sustainable dive tourism, underwater photography and videography, marine conservation and dive tourism recovery. The sessions will be simultaneously live streamed via social media networking sites. 

Secretary Puyat added that as part of the DOT’s initiative to move tourism events to a safer digital space, the virtual PHIDEX will eliminate geographical barriers, reduce travel expenses and continue to establish the Philippines as the region’s dive travel business hub. 

In 2019, the first three-day Philippine International Dive Expo event of the DOT that took place in the seaside complex Conrad Hotel received good feedback. The DOT Secretary said, at the time, that the purpose of PHIDEX was to solidify the Philippines’ position as a topnotch travel and business centre in the global diving industry. 

Last year, 730 B2B meetings were generated between 50 international buyers from 21 international source markets and 40 local sellers of dive tourism products and services from the top and emerging dive destinations. 

PHIDEX continues to have the participation of dive travel and trade stakeholders, equipment manufacturers, and National Tourism Organisation (NTO). The Department Of Tourism (DOT) is pushing the frontiers in digitalisation in the services that they cater to the people in the country and as well as to foreign investors. 

In a recent article, OpenGov Asia reported on how DoT is spearheading a fast and reliable online platform that supports Philippine MSMEs called the Philippine Harvest e-commerce. The site was created to mitigate food wastage in the country. It was supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its separate online platform “Go Lokal” that promotes both fresh produce and locally manufactured goods. 

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