The Sandals and Beaches Resorts linked brands handle a high proportion of the scuba divers and snorkellers who visit the Caribbean – and their guests are often beginners or casual rather than regular divers, making it all the more important that the resorts' working practices are designed to protect the underwater environment.
Sandals and Beaches on-site PADI dive-centres claim to have certified more than 140,000 divers to date – the largest number of certifications completed by any of the training agency's partners.
With that in mind, the all-inclusive resorts have just become the first in the Caribbean to obtain Green Fins digital membership right across their expanding portfolio.
Sandals currently comprises 18 luxury beachfront resorts in Grenada, the Bahamas, St Lucia, Curaçao, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Jamaica, while three Beaches-branded locations are offered in Turks & Caicos and Jamaica, where the company is based.
Green Fins is implemented internationally by UK-based charity the Reef-World Foundation in partnership with the UN Environment Programme, and aims to protect coral reefs by following environmentally friendly guidelines that promote sustainable scuba diving and snorkelling.
By creating and logging action-plans based on the Green Fins code of conduct, all levels of staff at Sandals and Beaches on-site PADI dive-centres will be expected to engage in reducing environmental impact, expanding on the resorts’ existing conservation practices.
These include rotating dive-site visits to give the marine life regular breaks from human visitors, management of invasive species such as lionfish, encouraging the use of reef-safe sunscreen, and keeping guests informed about best eco-friendly practices.
“Here in the Caribbean, the ocean is a part of our everyday lives, and the health of our underwater ecosystems plays a role in the livelihoods of our friends, families and neighbours,” said Michael Clarke, corporate director of water sports for Sandals Resorts International.
“As new members of Green Fins across our entire resort portfolio, Sandals and Beaches are upholding their vows to protect and restore our natural resources, so guests visiting from every corner of the Earth can experience the crown of the Caribbean while generations to come continue to prosper from its resources.”
“Their scale and shared commitment to a healthier future helps advance our mission to create more ocean ambassadors who can go out and not only explore but also protect the ocean,” she said, celebrating them as “the first PADI resort company that can boast 100% Green Fins status”.
The resorts are also said to be committed to PADI AWARE Foundation’s Adopt the Blue programme, whereby dive-centres take responsibility for an individual dive-site in terms of clean-ups, reporting ecosystem changes and applying any conservation action recommended by specialists.
According to a Reef-World survey, more than 80% of divers booking trips now seek sustainable operators that prioritise marine-life conservation.
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