chapter  7
17 Pages

Responsible underwater behaviour


Introduction For the past two decades, the rising popularity of scuba diving as a recreational activity has resulted in a tremendous growth in the dive tourism industry. Evidence of such popularity can be observed from the global leapfrog increase in numbers of certifi ed divers from 2.5 million in 1988 to 17.8 million in 2008 (PADI Statistics 2011). The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) estimated that 600,000 new divers are certifi ed yearly, representing an annual growth of 6 per cent. As reported by Mintel (2006), it was estimated that 2 to 3 million certifi ed divers had taken some kind of scuba-diving related holiday in the Asia-Pacifi c region during 2005. In the Egyptian Red Sea, divers’ visitation has increased by ten times, compared with the 1990s (Harriott 2002; Garrod 2008). In fact scuba diving tourism is now a multibillion dollar industry and is recognized by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism trade. Among factors which contribute to this rapid growth of scuba diving tourism, in a relatively short period of time, are the development of safer and affordable diving equipment (Davis and Tisdell 1996), coupled with the advances in technology that produce marine craft for easy access to remote diving areas (Parker 2001) and the increasing interest in nature, conservation, and environmental matters (Dimmock and Wilson, 2009; Harriott et al. 1997; Orams 1999).