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'Dive Philippines' promotion a hit in Moscow: embassy

Dive spots in the Philippines were among the center of attention at the Moscow Dive Show, an annual international exhibition that caters to the diving community in Russia, the Philippine Embassy in Moscow said.

Jeffrey Valdez, head of the embassy's economic section, said tourism promotion is one of the priorities of the Philippine Embassy and they make it a point to support the DOT in all their activities in Russia.

He is optimistic that the country's diving destinations will reach Russian market as its divers shift focus in terms of location.

"We are especially proud of our world-class diving destinations and pleased to share these with the Russian diving community,” he said. “We know that Russia excels in ice and technical diving but we are seeing more Russian divers traveling in search of warmer climates and new species.”

The country's exhibit titled “DIVE Philippines” was prepared and staffed by a delegation led by the Department of Tourism (DOT) composed of Rita Doctor of the DOT Office of Product and Market Development and Anabelle Apostol, operations officer of DOT Frankfurt, which has jurisdiction over Russia.

They were joined by marketing representatives and CEOs of top Philippine dive resorts, including SA Diving and Tours, Bohol Tropical Divers, Azure Dive Resort, and Discovery Fleet.

During the exhibit held last month at the Sokolniki Exhibition Center in Moscow, the DIVE Philippines Team presented a lecture called "Philippines: The Heart of Diving in Asia" where Doctor and top Russian underwater photographer Alex Stoyda highlighted the various aquatic species that await divers in different spots all over the Philippines including Tubbataha Reef off Palawan, Malapascua in Cebu and Anilao in Batangas.

The presentation also showcased the Philippines as a top destination for different types of tropical diving such as macro diving, wreck diving, cave diving and others.

The Philippines is hailed by scientists as the “center of the center” of marine biodiversity with its location at the apex of the Coral Triangle.

Various studies have declared the country as having the richest concentration of marine life in the entire planet with as many as 500 species of corals and up to 2,500 species of fish.

The Moscow Dive Show, Russia’s premier diving exposition, features more than 200 exhibitors from all over the world and attracts more than 20,000 participants with a focus on tourism promotion and retail for scuba diving, free diving, spearfishing and underwater photography. Its 2018 exhibit was the third time that the Philippines participated in the event.

Joyce Ann L. Rocamora / PNA