In solidarity with the tourism stakeholders in Bohol, AirAsia joined hands with the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Panglao LGU and the Panglao Association of Dive Operators to bring in diving and underwater photography enthusiasts for the 2021 Panglao Dive Festival.
Now in its second year, the festival showcased not only the pristine white sand beaches but also the beauty of Panglao seas with an underwater photography competition held at world-famous diving spots like Balicasag Island, the Arco Point, Habagat Wreck, and Neptune Water. A free-diving competition meanwhile was held at the Bohol Strait.
The easing of travel restrictions for tourists coming from the NCR plus bubble contributed to the increase in the number of tourists arriving in Panglao. Tourist arrivals in Panglao saw a gradual increase of 200 to 300 daily since the reopening of the province.
Since the reopening of Panglao, only 17% of the hotels on the island have resumed operations. Restaurants and other establishments who were given the Safety Seal meanwhile were allowed to operate but with heavy restrictions.
Considered as the Crown jewel of the south, and the tourism hub of the island of Bohol, Panglao has also started to offer tourism bubble packages to visitors in order to boost tourism.
Bohol Governor Art Yap said, “We look at this dive festival as more than just an event to restart Bohol’s tourism but as an opportunity to highlight the message that COVID may have impacted the lives of the people not only in Panglao, but also in the whole province of Bohol, but it didn’t shut us down forever.”
Yap added that highlighting the protection of the environment which is the main theme of the Dive Festival is very important especially during this time of recovery. “It is very clear that if we continue to protect our natural resources and to keep them pristine, this will secure jobs and livelihoods,” he added.
Panglao Dive Festival overall chairman Councilor Aya Montero-Caindec meanwhile said they have high hopes with the 2nd Panglao Dive Festival as it is expected to position the island as among the top diving hubs in Southeast Asia.
“Panglao indeed is the first town in the province of Bohol to reopen the tourism industry under the new normal, slowly, gradually, but with strict implementation of health protocols. Together with industry partners and the community, Panglao has slowly recovered. It’s a long way, but together, we will revitalize our economy and bring back the livelihood of the residents of Panglao,” she added.
AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla who delivered his opening remarks through a video message said, “With the number of cases decreasing and travel restrictions in the NCR plus bubble and the nearby provinces easing, I am sure that more tourists will visit Panglao in the months to come. With some of the best white sand beaches and diving spots on the island, you will not have a hard time inviting visitors to come, even during off-season months.”
“I wish for the success of the 2021 Panglao Dive Festival. Events like this will revitalize the tourism sector which is one of the largest industries here,” he added.
AirAsia partnered with a number of celebrities and influencers who also advocate the revival of tourism in the country. These celebrities will engage in various activities on the island which include coastal clean-up of the Panglao coast and coral restoration. The 2021 Panglao Dive Festival will run from June 16 – 20, 2021.
AirAsia flies to Bohol 5x weekly via Panglao airport. Book your tickets now via airasia super app or airasia.com