BANGKOK, Thailand – The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Reef-World Foundation (Reef-World) have announced a new organizational partnership, recognizing the positive impacts that their mutual support and endorsement can have in the areas of marine conservation and in the sustainable development of marine initiatives and opportunities.
The specific objectives of this partnership include the mutual support and endorsement of both organizations, as well as collaboration in awareness building and knowledge sharing on related issues. As part of the agreement, PATA officially endorses Reef-World and Green Fins, a management approach to promote and measure compliance to an environmental code of conduct for sustainable diving and snorkelling activities for destinations, dive operators and related ancillary products and services. PATA members will also have access to relevant information that relates specifically to diving, snorkelling and marine tourism.
“Concerns are growing about marine tourism conservation issues. I believe that this is a developing area of interest for many PATA members including island and archipelago states across Southeast Asia and many private sector businesses,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “We look forward to gaining insights about Reef-World’s monitoring of best practices of the diving and snorkeling tourism industry internationally through Green Fins. This partnership means that PATA members now have improved access to knowledge that can help us make a real difference, at the grassroots level, on a wide range of marine tourism issues.”
“At Reef-World we strive to ensure simple and practical guidance to environmental best practice for SCUBA diving and snorkelling activities is freely available to everyone, regardless of business size, location or language spoken. Through this exciting partnership with PATA, and using the Green Fins management approach, we will be able to extend the reach of Green Fins to more businesses managers and owners,” said Reef-World Operations Manager James Harvey.
Reef-World began in 1993 with a series of programs educating local communities in Thailand on the sustainable use of marine resources. Since then, Reef-World has been focusing on education within coastal communities, with an interest in sustainable dive and snorkel tourism, initially focused in Southeast Asia and now globally. Reef-World originally established Green Fins through a partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2004. Today, Green Fins represents the world’s only UNEP recognized international environmental standards for SCUBA diving and snorkeling activities and the only approach to combine these standards with performance assessment. It’s an inventive model for working with the private and public sectors to inspire industry led actions for the protection and conservation of coral reefs.
With this newly-signed partnership, PATA provided the forewords for the new Operational Handbooks that are practical guides for applying best environmental practice within dive and snorkel centres, dive destinations and within national governments. The handbooks also provide solutions for dive center owners, managers, staff, resource managers and authorities on how to handle related environmental challenges by following the Green Fins code of conduct.