Diver training agency PADI is engaging further with the expanding Indian scuba-diving market by appointing Bollywood film star and entrepreneur couple Sonakshi Sinha and Zaheer Iqbal as PADI AmbassaDivers. The celebrity Advanced Open Water Divers are said to have a combined 30 million social-media followers.
Sinha, the star of many Indian movies, was named PETA Indian of the Year in 2022 for using her platform to advocate for the ethical treatment of animals, and has been named on Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list multiple times.
She became a PADI Open Water Diver three years ago in the Andaman Islands and has also dived in Seychelles, Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef. “It’s amazing becoming a PADI AmbassaDiver because it’s for something I love so deeply,” she says. “I will do my best to encourage more people to dive and get to know the ocean better!”
“Diving into great depths is an exhilarating experience,” added Sinha’s dive-buddy Iqbal. “It’s peaceful observing nature below the surface and I am honoured to become a PADI AmbassaDiver.
“I now have the opportunity to dive into a realm of endless wonder and I hope that more people take the opportunity to dive and learn more about the beautiful world beneath the surface.”
PADI has described India, with its rapid economic growth, as a “sleeping tiger” market, and says that diving businesses particularly in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are reporting increasing numbers of visitors from the country.
Advantages pinpointed by the training agency include widespread use of the English language, the fact that Indian divers prefer to travel in groups with family or friends, and that established dive-centres in India tend to offer overseas dive travel.
“A PADI AmbassaDiver is someone passionate about using their force for good to encourage others to protect our shared blue planet,” says PADI Worldwide brand director Julie Andersen, describing the new AmbassaDivers as “long-time ocean-lovers who are dedicated to advancing our shared mission of creating positive ocean change”.
Training agency Scuba Schools International (SSI) is hoping that its divers will start networking on its new social-media group Underwater Explorers Worldwide, as it bids to better connect divers from around the world.
SSI says it has recognised the need for a “vibrant and engaging platform” that goes beyond training and certifications to provide a supportive network for scuba and freedivers of all experience levels.
“Divers can get unbiased views on everything related to diving,” it says. “They can ask questions, receive valuable feedback and get validation from a global community of divers. With members from around the world, it is easy for divers to make new friends and discover new places to go diving.”
Topics said by SSI to fall within Underwater Explorers Worldwide’s scope include dive-sites, dive-trip planning, equipment reviews and recommendations, dive safety and skills, marine conservation and environmental awareness, underwater photography and videography, dive stories and experiences, diving Q&A sessions, polls, surveys and quizzes, SSI news, events and “inspiring interviews”.