The Reef-World Foundation, the Onna Village Diving Association, the local government, and Oceana are delighted to announce that Japan is now the 14th country globally to implement the Green Fins initiative – a UN Environment Programme initiative. Onna Village in Okinawa is the first Japanese tourist destination to adopt Green Fins environmental standards to reduce the threats associated with diving and snorkelling on the marine environment.
Green Fins is piloted in Onna Village, Okinawa prefecture, an area renowned for its marine sports and has been working to protect its reefs for many years. Green Fins is implemented as part of the national Sustainable Development Goals project, which aims to manage and illustrate to the local industry how sustainable tourism can play a role in reef conservation. The economic benefits of the reefs benefit not only the fisheries industry but also the tourism industry as it has rocketed in recent decades.
If the project is successful – proving the value of sustainable tourism – the model has the potential to be escalated to a national level. A wide rollout would allow Reef-World to focus on uptake and expansion into other marine tourism and biodiversity hotspots across Japan. Green Fins implementation in Japan would provide practical solutions to many of the common problems faced in the area. It would also help to promote high standards for diving in the country. Improving the quality of the diving industry through Green Fins would demonstrate the added value of Onna Village’s tourism product. This, in turn, will encourage tourists to spend more time and money diving in the region.
Following a week of training by Reef-World (23 to 28 May 2022), Japan now has a national Green Fins team comprised of four fully certified Green Fins Assessors and two Green Fins Coordinators from Oceana and the local government. They will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, training and certifying dive and snorkel operators to become Green Fins members in the country. This involves providing training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. Green Fins membership will help marine tourism operators improve their sustainability and prove they are working hard to follow environmental best practices as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.
James Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We are really excited to finally introduce Green Fins in Japan. We have been planning this for almost three years, but the travel restrictions related to the pandemic hindered progress. The diving industry in Okinawa and the marine life upon which it has been built is so unique, it must be preserved for generations to come. The Okinawa diving community is very passionate about protecting their marine environment, and Green Fins has given them an opportunity to collectively work to reduce their environmental impact and pursue exemplary environmental standards.”
Diving and snorkelling related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or plastic debris and the effects of climate change. Based on robust individual assessments, the Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support to dive and snorkel operators. Through Green Fins implementation in Japan, Reef-World aims to reduce negative environmental impacts in the region by reaching 10 marine tourism operators, training 50 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practices among 10,000 tourists in the first year.
Yuta Kawamoto, CEO of Oceana, said: “Green Fins will help to unify all the conservation efforts in Okinawa by applying the guidelines in many areas and raising tourists awareness. We hope this will increase the sustainable value in the diving industry and in turn increase the diving standards in the country.”
Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.
To date, four dive operators in Onna Village have joined the global network of 600+ trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Benthos Divers, Okinawa Diving Center, Arch Angel and Pink Marlin Club. There has also been significant interest from other operators, even those that are not located in Onna Village, for Green Fins training and assessment.
Suika Tsumita from Oceana said: “Green Fins serve as an important tool for local diving communities to move towards a more sustainable use of their dive sites; so that they can maintain their scenic beauty and biological richness to provide livelihoods for many generations to come.”
For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or www.greenfins.net/countries/japan. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.
Dive and snorkel operators in Japan interested in signing up to be Green Fins members can contact the Green Fins Japan team at email@example.com.
Save on NEW Emperor Harmoni
The launch of Emperor Harmoni – Emperor Divers’ brand-new liveaboard in Indonesia – is just a few weeks away with the finishing touches currently taking place. And, to welcome her to their fleet, Emperor have put together an offer as magnificent as the boat herself.
Anyone booking a trip on Harmoni for 2022 or 2023 will receive a 25% discount if they book and confirm before October 1st 2022.
That means the first guests on board can not only explore and dive the Indonesian waters in the finest of style but do so at an incredible price. And sailing on Harmoni really is fine.
She is a 24-berth, traditional Indonesian phinisi-style vessel which has been bespoke made using a combination of Emperor’s vast experience of liveaboards and the expertise of legendary Indonesian boat builder Pak Haji.
Constructed almost entirely by hand using Sulawesi ironwood, Harmoni has been designed specifically to offer the finest diving experiences possible in spacious surroundings of the very highest standard.
The beautifully-finished cabins all have en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning while the deck areas offer plenty of comfortable places to sit and maybe even enjoy a relaxing massage. The dining area is spacious and serves the high-quality food and drink you would expect from an Emperor Divers holiday.
The first trip leaves on September 16th and will cruise from Bali, taking in the wonderful scenery of Moyo Island, Sumbawa and Sangean Volcano before finally reaching Komodo National Park.
The offer is valid on new bookings only and discount is not to be combined with group free places or any other discount or promotion.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm pricing and availability or speak personally to the Emperor Divers’ reservation team to find out more.
PHIDEX returns to Manila this August
DOT’s Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) returns to Manila in August 2022
Time to gear up and get dive-ready as the Department of Tourism (DOT) stages the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX), the country’s largest platform for the diving community, from August 19 to 21, 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, Manila.
PHIDEX’s third edition seeks to continue the narrative of conservation, community, and convergence within the diving community through the theme “Back into the Blue: One with the Sea”.
The expo will also showcase the Philippines’ readiness to welcome dive tourists from all over the globe, gathering local and international dive industry experts, dive tour operators, and partner dive businesses to share their ideas and experiences.
“The entry of international travelers is a welcome development that will lead to growth in the travel and tourism sector, restoration of jobs, and the generation of much-needed revenue for tourism-related enterprises and communities. We are optimistic that these economic benefits will also extend to dive destinations around the country. The country remains a leading dive destination, which tourists all over the world are eager to visit after a long wait of two years,” said Tourism Development Undersecretary Woodrow C. Maquiling, Jr.
“The DOT hopes to encourage divers to practice sustainability every time they dive to preserve the country’s seas. Sustainable diving practices are a huge part of the reason why the country’s dive destinations continue to operate despite challenges brought by the pandemic,” Undersecretary Maquiling added.
PHIDEX is the only dive show in the world that combines in one event a Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX), a business-to-business (B2B) meeting program for local and international dive operators, dive conference and seminars, and familiarization tours to top and emerging Philippine dive destinations. Exhibition booths will showcase dive resorts and centers in different destinations, as well as top-rated dive gear and equipment.
Through conferences, participants will also have a chance to learn about new dive destinations developed during the pandemic, product updates from key dive destinations, as well as up-to-date underwater photography gear showcases. International dive operators will also get to inspect and assess top and emerging dive destinations such as Anilao, Bohol, Camiguin, Coron, Dumaguete, Malapascua, Moalboal, Puerto Galera, Southern Leyte, and Ticao Island through familiarization tours.
At least 100 local and international dive buyers and media from the Philippines, US, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore, are expected to attend the expo. Meanwhile, activities such as Dive TRAVEX and Dive Conference will be accessible online for participants unable to attend due to international border restrictions.
Registration as consumer and trade visitors and exhibition booth reservation will open on June 24, 2022 through https://register.phidex.asia/.
For more information regarding the PHIDEX activities, follow Dive Philippines on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DOTdivephilippines) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/dotdivephilippines/) or email the PHIDEX Organizing Committee at email@example.com.