Reef-World released a report informed by divers to help the diving industry bounce back from the pandemic without compromising on sustainability
The Reef-World Foundation released a new report summarising the results from an online survey conducted from April to June 2022, which received over 2,400 responses from various demographics. The study reveals new travel trends and how important sustainability is regarded in this new era of tourism as the industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Reef-World hopes for the report to assist in this rehabilitation process and aid marine tourism businesses, local governments and communities to not only bounce back better but also prepare themselves for a bright future of travel, all whilst protecting the ocean.
“This survey has highlighted some really encouraging trends,” said Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation. “The Gen Z and Millennials, those with the biggest buying power today and tomorrow, are seeking out experiences that align with their sustainability values. They are willing to pay more for sustainable offerings and are wanting to educate themselves and be involved in meaningful environmental activities while on holiday. This is so positive for both the industry and the environment upon which it is built. It’s given us a sneak peek into the future of marine tourism; one where sustainability is no longer a competitive edge, but a minimum requirement. We’re proud that the Green Fins approach and tools remain at the cutting edge, delivering on the needs of the industry and the consumer as we move into this new era of tourism.”
The report has identified some of the key narratives that will drive the market in the future and insights to help businesses take advantage of these trends for the future sustainability of their business and the environment it is built on. One main highlight from the report is that the demands from dive tourists have shifted since the pandemic.
Emerging from a travel hiatus, they now want more sustainable holiday options and more transparency around options coined as environmentally friendly during their dive trips. While 75% of dive tourists are willing to pay more for sustainability, they fear spending more on their holidays due to the risk of contributing money towards “greenwashing”. The tourism industry needs a brand-conscious, transparent, and effective global green label to address that.
The industry professionals (guides, instructors, business owners) have also spoken. The data clearly suggests they seek more environmental education and tools to raise environmental awareness, both for themselves and their customers. From their perspective, the fact that these are lacking represents the single biggest challenge for them on achieving their sustainability goals in their workplace. An overwhelming majority of dive professionals think dive operators, including the operations they work in, should do more to protect the environment. Dive tourists are also calling on marine tourism operators to do better. They believe these businesses profit from tourism and therefore have a responsibility to protect the environment and surrounding ecosystems they work in and should be held accountable for their actions.
The Reef-World Foundation leads the global implementation of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative, which focuses on driving environmentally friendly scuba diving and snorkelling practices across the industry globally. Green Fins offers the world’s first independent certificate to stop the environmental impact from marine-based tourism. It is a proven conservation management approach that leads to a measurable reduction in the negative environmental impacts of marine tourism.
The survey, conducted with the support of Reef-World’s partners, PADI, RAID, PSS and ZuBlu, proves that tourists will be increasingly voting with their wallets and selecting businesses and brands that align with their values for sustainability and preservation of our incredible ocean ecosystems.
To learn how the key findings from the survey can help marine tourism businesses to bounce back from the pandemic while keeping sustainability at the forefront, download the full report.