Applying responsible tourism principles to diving is a brilliant opportunity to do more to protect and conserve the marine environments, whilst at the same time improving the quality of experiences for the divers themselves.
What does Responsible Diving look like??
The choices we make when we go diving make a difference. Responsible diving applies the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ approach - trying to keep the social, economic and environmental aspects of tourism in balance. The Cape Town declaration gives more detailed ideas of what responsible tourism looks like, all of these can and should be applied to dive tourism.
According to the Cape Town Declaration (2002), Responsible tourism:
• minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts;
• generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry;
• involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances;
• makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s diversity;
• provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues;
• provides access for physically challenged people; and
• is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence
I will be posting examples of great projects, dive groups and operators that are leading the way on responsible diving. Through their initiatives and approach to diving, they are working to protect the oceans we love to enjoy.