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In 2021, the Philippines will remain the world’s top diving destination, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTA).

At the renowned 2021 World Travel Awards, the Philippines was named the world’s best dive destination for the second time (WTA).

“While this honor is a great honor, it also emphasizes our great responsibility of protecting and conserving our underwater resources so that future generations can enjoy and experience them in their pristine natural state,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said Thursday as she accepted the award.

The Philippines has now won the prize for the third year in a row.

It outperformed major international dive sites such as the Maldives, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Azores Islands, French Polynesia’s Bora Bora, the Cayman Islands, Fiji, the Galapagos Islands, and Mexico.

The Philippines is known for having some of the top diving locations in the world, as well as biologically rich marine and aquatic resources.

It is not only part of the magnificent Coral Triangle—dubbed the “Amazon of the Ocean” because it is home to 600 coral species, 2,000 reef fish species, and six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles—but it is also at the heart of it, as marine scientists have pinpointed, making the country home to the world’s richest marine ecosystem.

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 are among the country’s best diving spots.

Samal and Talikud Island in Davao del Norte; Balingoan, Talisayan, Medina, Magsaysay, and Gingoog in Misamis Oriental; and Camiguin in Misamis Oriental are some of the country’s emerging dive spots.

The Department of Transportation, for its part, promised to continue identifying suitable dive tourism destinations.

The honor came after the Philippine government successfully vaccinated over 95% of workers at certified dive shops across the country last month.

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