Travel

PH named world’s top dive destination, Intramuros is top tourist attraction

UNDERWATER MARVELS The waters off Panglao Island in Bohol host a healthy marine life that allows species like whale sharks and sardines to thrive. (PHOTO COURTESY OF IAN UY AND KEITH SEPE OF DIVE TA BAI)

MANILA, Philippines — For the second year in a row, the Philippines was hailed as the world’s leading dive destination by the 2020 World Travel Awards.

The award-giving body, which announced its 2020 winners on Friday, also named the walled city of Intramuros in Manila as the world’s top tourist attraction this year.

The Philippines bested eight destinations in the world’s leading dive destination category, namely the Azores Islands; Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Cayman Islands; Fiji; Galapagos Islands; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; Maldives and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Intramuros was recognized as the world’s leading tourist attraction for the first time, beating 15 other tourist sites such as the Taj Mahal in India, the United States’ Grand Canyon National Park and the Great Wall of China, among others.

The friendly kalesa ‘kutseros’ or coachmen of the Walled City are not only considered drivers but trained tour guides. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

“We are incredibly grateful for the recognitions given to the Philippines’ magnificent dive sites and the beautifully-restored heritage site of Intramuros at the 27th World Travel Awards,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

 “We will continue to promote sustainable, inclusive, and world-class tourism, especially now as we slowly reopen our attractions to more domestic tourists,” she added.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE)

Previously, the Philippines also bagged awards in the Asia category of the 2020 World Travel Awards.

Among these are Asia’s leading private island resort awarded to Amanpulo, while Intramuros was recognized as Asia’s leading tourist attraction.

According to its official website, the World Travel Awards, established in 1993, aims to “acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.”

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