By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

BOHOL LOOP DIVE EXPO. A diver takes photos of corals during the Bohol Loop Dive Expo 2023. Participated by various diving and underwater photography enthusiasts, the first-ever underwater activity in Bohol featured world-class dive sites in Central Visayas region. (Photo courtesy of Spark Chao via Bohol Loop Dive Expo FB)

MANILA – The Philippines bagged four major recognitions at the prestigious 2023 World Travel Awards (WTA) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates last week, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

For the first time, the country received the Global Tourism Resilience Award for demonstrating “global leadership, pioneering vision, and innovation to overcome critical challenges and adversity.”

As one of only five countries and destinations in the world cited for this inaugural award, the WTA said the Philippines and other “inaugural winners will serve as benchmarks for best practices in tourism resilience”.

The country also won the World’s Leading City Destination for its capital, Manila, another first.

Meanwhile, the Philippines defended its title as the World’s Leading Dive Destination and the World’s Leading Beach Destination.

Tourism Sec. Christina Frasco said the global tourism resilience award was an “affirmation of all the hard work done in the pat year to strengthen the pillars of tourism development.”

“We are elated and grateful that the Philippine tourism continues to soar to global prominence with tourists declaring their love for the Philippines as the undisputed World’s Leading Beach Destination and World’s Leading Dive Destination, and now World’s Leading City Destination, Manila,” she said in a statement dated Dec. 5.

The awards showcase the Philippines as an “unparalleled destination” from its beaches, dive sites, dynamic urban landscapes, and culture and heritage, she added.

The award was received by DOT Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano and Assistant Secretary Maria Rica Bueno who represented the tourism chief during the awarding ceremony overseas on Dec. 1 (Dubai time).

“As I said, the main asset is the people, and that is something that a lot of countries in the world don’t have. And it’s the people of the Philippines that make your tourism assets the most amazing,” WTA President and Founder Graham Cooke said. ”The work ethic, the happiness, the smile, and the hospitality that the Philippines have are global icons.” (PNA)