WILLEMSTAD - The Reef-World Foundation has launched a new online platform, the Green Fins Hub, which will assist Curaçao’s leading sustainable dive tourism operators as Green Fins Digital Members in developing best environmental practices for marine tourism.
These leading sustainable dive tourism operators (Ocean Encounters, The Dive Bus, Scubacao and GO WEST Diving) Curaçao have all become Green Fins Digital Members to reinforce the absolute need to create change in order to provide future generations with an opportunity for a healthy and sustainable environment, both above and below the waterline.
“From a private sector point of view, Dive Curacao is incredibly proud to support sustainable dive tourism and these leaders of the Curaçao Dive Tourism Industry to create change. Afterall, if we do nothing to support the environment, we will eventually have an unsustainable dive tourism industry in Curaçao. This will lead to an inability to deliver exceptional dive travel and vacation experiences in the future. Bottom line is that apathy can no longer be embraced.”, says Bryan Horne, Founder of Dive Curacao.
Why should responsible Curaçao Dive Tourism operators become a Green Fins Members?
The most important reason why Curaçao Tourism operators should become Green Fins Members is, of course, to support the environmental component of Curaçao. Coral reefs in Curacao comprise 104 square kilometers of extremely bio-diverse systems and therefore represent a high economic value.
Consequently, it is important to protect the dive sites and snorkel sites to ensure the sustainable growth of this valuable industry. The same way these dive operators take part in certification programs to raise their service level, The Reef-World Foundation developed the assessment system to measure compliance to the “Green Fins Code of Conduct” that was co-created with UNEP. The Green Fins tools and resources also support industry compliance to Sustainable Diving and ISO standards that address the needs of the industry to meet the rapid shift in demand for sustainable tourism plus the mounting threat towards the marine environment.
Accordingly, initiatives like this combined with government support for progressive marine management legislation will change, legitimize and strengthen the position of the dive tourism industry in Curaçao. As recent studies have shown, their contribution to the Curaçao economy is of great value.
“Marine tourism plays an important role in Curaçao’s economy and as the industry grows, it is critical to establish practical approaches to protect the marine environment. By adopting Green Fins, dive operators are taking vital steps in ensuring Curaçao’s dive market is sustainably managed to increase corals and marine life’s resilience to wider global threats and protect the valuable marine ecosystems for future generations.” said JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation.
About the Green Fins Hub
The Green Fins Hub is the latest development by The Reef-World Foundation to meet the growing industry demand for environmentally friendly underwater sports. The foundation recently surveyed more than 2,400 dive tourists and professionals, 75% of whom said they are willing to pay more for marine tour operators with a firm commitment to sustainability.
Created in partnership with UNEP and industry key players such as PADI, PSS, RAID, DAN, and PADI Travel, the Green Fins Hub hosts both the existing Certified Members and registrants to its new digital membership program.
The Hub includes a Community Forum where members can discuss solutions and other topics related to sustainable marine tourism with like-minded operators, NGOs, governments and industry partners; a Solutions Library with information on how to implement best practices; and an Action Plan Tracker to track, collaborate and improve operation’s conservation efforts.
It is hoped the new global digital platform will increase Green Fins uptake, not only in Curaçao, but globally, from the current 700 Green Fins certified operators in 14 countries to a potential 30,000 operators worldwide.
The Green Fins digital membership is available to dive, snorkel and liveaboard operators around the world, in which they will receive environmental scores based on a detailed online self-evaluation of their operation’s environmental practices and most importantly, solutions and actions to the results of their self-evaluation.
This process is seen as the first step to implement Green Fins in Curaçao on a national level with a government-led team to enable dive operators to become Green Fins Certified Members where they will receive annual in-person assessment, on-site training for staff and consultation to help the business develop and implement best practice to improve the sustainability of the marine tourism industry.
Operators that have registered, successfully completed their online self-evaluation and developed their own action plan will be provided with a digital certificate enabling tourists to identify operations that have committed to taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint whilst carrying out their activities.