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 RP: Destination of the Year

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Jhuly
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PostSubject: RP: Destination of the Year   February 5th 2008, 8:27 am

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- The country took center stage as “Destination of the Year” during the recent 2008 10th Salon de la Plongee, an international diving trade show in Paris, France, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

Quoting a dispatch from Philippine Ambassador to France Jose Abeto Zaide, the DFA said the Philippines, taking its first plunge at the Salon de la Plongee sous-Marine (SCUBA Exhibition) at the Exhibition Park in Porte de Versailles, was named the event’s Destination of the Year. Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano led a Philippine delegation of 10 exhibitors.

Zaide said the Philippine exhibit was a sure crowd-drawer, especially with the world-renowned Bayanihan National Folk Dance Company gracing the event.

The Philippine booth near the main entrance accommodated about 10 companies showcasing their respective dive resorts around the country. Zaide said that, based on the reports of the Philippine private sector participants, inquiries greatly exceeded expectations and brochures ran out.

The 10th Salon de la Plongee sous Marine was joined by about 402 exhibitors from 40 countries and drew 39,342 visitors, with 232 journalists covering the event.

Exhibitors included tourism agencies and diving equipment manufacturers. Zaide said Durano assured the participants that travel to the country's marine parks and sports attractions is relatively safe.

"We are taking a more assertive role in pushing our beaches and aqua sports attractions to the European traveler. Private businesses that were with us in previous marketing missions have gained significant benefits and 2008 will open more opportunities," Durano said.

Known for dense marine biodiversity, Philippine waters offer rewarding diving experiences. Top dive sites in the country include the Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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