Partnership to strengthen focus on marine tourism in the Asia Pacific Region
BANGKOK, April 18, 2016 — The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Reef-World Foundation(Reef-World) have announced a new organisational partnership, recognising 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 organisations, 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. This information will be available on PATA’s online sustainability platform, sustain.pata.org.
“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 snorkelling 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 programmes 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 Programme (UNEP) in 2004. Today, Green Fins represents the world’s only UNEP recognised 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 centre owners, managers, staff, resource managers and authorities on how to handle related environmental challenges by following the Green Fins code of conduct.
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 97 government, state and city tourism bodies, 27 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 63 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 43 local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry training and business development events. Their grassroots activism underpins PATA’s membership of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which includes ACI, CLIA, IATA, ICAO, WEF, UNWTO and the WTTC. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing, Sydney and London.
The Reef-World Foundation is a UK-based charity that has worked with local people to conserve coral reefs in South East Asia, the world centre for biodiversity, for over 20 years. Our field of expertise is working with both the marine tourism industry community and local communities to provide information about coral reefs and the associated marine life and helping members of those communities find their own role in wider plans to protect reefs and related ecosystems in the face of a changing climate.
The Green Fins initiative for sustainable dive tourism was originally established by UNEP and Reef World in 2004. The approach encompasses three main elements; a 15-point environmental code of conduct for dive centres complemented by a robust assessment system to monitor and promote compliance; support towards developing or strengthening implementation of relevant regulatory frameworks; and strategic outreach to and capacity building among dive centres and their customers as well as government partners. Green Fins has been introduced to six countries in Asia and the total membership has stands at over 400 diving and snorkelling operators who are continuously improving their business practices to mitigate negative environmental impacts.
Manager – Communications
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