Bohol officials hold ‘Dive Expo’ to revive tourism industry

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol – Local and international divers and scuba diving enthusiasts are expected to hold the 1st Bohol Loop Dive Expo 2023 aimed at reviving local tourism which has “suffered tremendously” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, organized by the Panglao Association of Dive Operators (PADO) and the provincial government of Bohol, is expected to attract hundreds of participants.

“The Panglao Dive Operators Association (PADO), through this event, will explore and discover new dive sites that will impact the province’s tourism and dive industry. We hope to bring the province to higher levels of promotion and environmental awareness by identifying new market niches, developing new dive tours, creating a dive tourism network and welcoming back our regular tourists to further explore the underwater wonders of Bohol,” said PADO President Ivy Bulaybulay-Kung.

She said the dive industry has suffered tremendously from the COVID-19 pandemic, so the festival is working to revive scuba diving operations in the province.

Bohol, like other provinces, had strictly imposed health protocols and travel restrictions as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease. The province has since relaxed travel requirements.

She added that the event will introduce the Advance Reservation System (ARS), which will monitor the capacity of dive sites and the payment of environmental user fees.

Bohol, known as “God’s Little Paradise”, has about 20 dive sites and attracts one million tourists every year.

The province consists of over 75 islands, each with its own distinct identity.

One of the most famous dive sites is the Danajon Double Barrier Reef, considered one of the six double barrier reefs in the world.

Governor Aris Aumentado said the provincial government is supporting the diving expo as it will showcase Bohol’s diving industry, which is seen as the foundation of local tourism.

“It deserves our support as this festival promotes the island’s rich, unique, diverse and pristine dive sites. This is in line with our vision to develop sustainable and responsible tourism in Bohol. Our visitors will enjoy dive destinations world-class,” Aumentado said.

The venue for the festival will be at the old Tagbilaran Airport and will feature exhibits and an underwater photo contest. This event will also include a series of diving activities in participating cities such as Tagbilaran City, Panglao Island, Mabini, Anda, Guindulman, Duero, Garcia Hernandez, Lila, Valencia, Talibon and Ubay City .

Apart from centuries-old churches, beaches, waterfalls, diving is another compelling reason to come to Bohol province. — Integrated BAP, GMA news

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