IDB support to enable Green Fins Global Hub development and launch of Green Fins Costa Rica
The Reef-World Foundation – the international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is thrilled to announce its Green Fins Global Hub proposal has been selected for project design under IDB Lab’s Beyond Tourism Challenge. This funding enables Reef-World to begin full development of the much-anticipated Green Fins Global Hub.
The Green Fins Global Hub is a first-of-its-kind online platform which will empower marine tourism businesses to measurably improve their sustainability efforts. The Hub will house an online support system to raise operator awareness of the potential threats their business practices pose to the environment and offer practical, proven solutions to address these. In this way, the digital global solution will encourage compliance with internationally recognised environmental standards, safeguard biodiversity and stimulate green tourism; ultimately, resulting in better protection of fragile coral reefs globally.
The Beyond Tourism project support enables Reef-World to begin the development of the Hub, which will initially be piloted by marine tourism operators in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. As an already established Green Fins country, the Dominican Republic team will share successes and learnings with Costa Rica, which will launch Green Fins as a result of this project support. By digitising the support it provides to reef-dependent businesses through the Hub, Reef-World will overcome traditional capacity and time constraints, reach previously inaccessible operators and upscale the overall conservation impact of its Green Fins initiative.
Chloe Harvey, Director of The Reef-World Foundation, said: “The Green Fins Global Hub has been generating excitement among dive centres around the world for some time so we’re delighted that IDB Lab has recognised the huge conservation impact it will have and selected it for project design. By the end of the two-year project, we expect to have fully autonomous Green Fins assessor teams in both Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic as well as a global digital platform with the potential to reach 30,000 marine tourism operators across 100 countries and upskill around 48,000 staff. Empowering the industry to collaborate for improved sustainability is essential in influencing the consumer choices of the 171 million travellers visiting reef hotspots annually and will have a significant conservation impact. We can’t wait to get started!”
This project creates a tipping point for sustainable reef tourism globally by helping the industry identify pressing environmental threats and providing proven solutions. By improving sustainability across the marine tourism industry, the Hub will protect coral reefs and related ecosystems from local stressors. Minimising local threats enables these vital ecosystems to become more resilient to global stressors, such as those associated with climate change. It also protects the local communities who rely on these precious natural resources for food stability, coastal protection, livelihoods and tourism returns.
The Beyond Tourism Challenge identified innovations in two categories: development of the tourism workforce for post-COVID recovery; and environmental sustainability. The Challenge attracted 214 applications from public and private sector candidates in 28 countries around the world with proposals ranging from waste management and safety protocols to preservation of natural capital and eco-tourism. Evaluation was conducted by IDB Group specialists – with technical expertise provided by the UNWTO – and criteria included the degree of innovation, the degree of social and environmental impact, its scalability potential, financial sustainability and viability of execution.
Reef-World’s proposal was one of eight selected from Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guyana, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. These selected applicants will become part of IDB Group’s network of global innovators working in the region to reinvent the tourism industry and support its recovery efforts. The selected proposals were:
- Barbados – “Better Batteries” an energy-as-a-service model to accelerate the hotel industry´s access to renewable energy. Applicant: Aceleron
- Belize – “Belizing Tourism Innovation Lab” a virtual marketplace to enhance workforce development. Applicant: Lets Go Belizing Ltd.
- Costa Rica – “INTO Experiential Camps & Lodges” a platform to bring together social ecotourism with land and marine conservation. Applicant: INTO Hospitality S.A.
- Dominican Republic – “Green Fins Hub – Digital scaling for sustainable marine tourism”. Applicants: The Reef-World Foundation and Reef Check Dominican Republic.
- Guyana – “Safe Lodges Equal Safe Guests”, a mobile tracing and tracking system and upskilling of tourism operators to allow for a safe reopening of ecotourism in Guyana’s Northern Rupununi region. Applicants: DAI Global LLC, Guyana Tourism Authority and Wilderness Explorers
- Haiti – “Caribbean Tourism Career Accelerator” a virtual programme to fast-track tourism workforce career development. Applicants: Global Startup Foundation and Cocread
- Panama – “Digital Transformation of Indigenous-Led Ecotourism and Conservation” a model to foster a safe and sustainable return to eco-tourism operations by local communities. Applicants: Keteka, Global Brigades and Native Future
- Trinidad and Tobago – “Creating a community-driven, sustainable cluster and brand to transform ecotourism in Nariva Swamp” using citizen science to develop Nariva as an eco-tourism attraction. Applicant: Caribbean Natural Resources Institute
The Beyond Tourism Innovation Challenge was run by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through its innovation laboratory, IDB Lab, and in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
For more information, please visit www.greenfins.net
Diving with… Pablo Calderon Cadiz, Takata Experience, Mahaual, Mexico
In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…
Pablo Calderon Cadiz
What is the name of your business?
What is your role within the business?
Owner / General Manager
How long has the business operated for?
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
I have been diving for 16 years; I am a PADI IDC Staff Instructor
What is your favorite type of diving?
I really enjoy all types of dive but deep dives and dives with crazy topography are by far my favourites.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
We are a dive center and also a research center, so we merge both into one big idea. When you dive with us you also benefit the reef, as we put part of that money into our restoration program. We are also one of the only dive centers in the world that has a full research center working together with us. That’s why our official hashtag is #Divewithpurpose
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
My favorite dive in Mahahual is Piratas, because of the beautiful topography and the amount of big animals you can see, such as turtles, manatees and sharks.
What types of diving are available in your location?
One of the best things about Mahahual is that there are dive sites for all levels, from shallow reefs with beautiful life to walls that can go down to 150 meters within 5 minutes from the shore. You can always choose what you want, if you are looking for biodiversity, topography, shallow sand patches or very deep walls, we have them all.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
The diving industry is an industry that is constantly evolving and from my role I am able to always bring that to Takata. I am always looking for ways to create a solid business culture, to make sure the people that work for us can always develop themselves from a professional perspective, but also from a personal one. We have created many different programs that are unique to us, where we merge the dive and research center. All that is possible because I can take those decisions. To see how your dream becomes true is the biggest reward ever.
What is your favorite underwater creature?
Sharks are my number 1, and if I can be more specific, Hammerheads!!!
As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
I feel that many dive centers in the world don’t know yet what makes them unique, so the way for them to attract people is to charge very low prices, sometimes that is very difficult, because the one that is next to you can charge 30% less than you for the ¨same service¨. I believe we should always find what is unique to us and to create a value on it. We should all focus on the professionalization of our industry.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
As I mentioned before, we have a full research center, our director has 2 master degrees and our 2 biologist both have PhDs. Actually our research center was name as Actor for the UN Decade On Ecosystems Restoration for the next 10 years.
Our research center works together with the Mexican government to ensure a sustainable development in the area and to implement big scale conservation and restoration projects in Mahahual.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
As we are a new company, there are always exciting thing coming our way, in these years we became an IDC center, UN partners, we did a small hotel and we are looking forward to develop our research center even more. We would like to become the biggest research center in Mexico which is very ambitious and to become leaders in diving, restoration and everything that involve costal ecosystems. We dream big because we love what we do.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
I think the industry is doing ok but not great. For sure freediving has grown a lot in the last 10-15 years. There are several organisations around the world who do great work, but we need more people and businesses looking to do the exceptional. Sometimes talking with diving friends around the world, we all agree that this is probably one of the few industries where the prices we charge are the same or even cheaper than 5 or 10 years ago. We urgently need to proprofessionalize the industry and put the correct value on our product and services.
Finally, what would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
If you guys are looking for a unique immersive experience where you can mix your passion for diving with deep understanding of marine and costal ecosystem, then we are your choice.
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
You guys can follow us on IG: Takata.experience
Our website is: www.takataexperience.com
Discover the Best of Belize with Dive Worldwide
This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef becoming a World Heritage Site! To celebrate, Dive Worldwide have rounded up their top trips to Belize which includes a resort-based stay, a liveaboard special and a twin-centre with neighbouring Guatemala – perfect for soaking up some culture.
Reefs, Atolls & Mayan Ruins
The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is warm, welcoming and offers unbelievable adventures. This gem has plenty for divers from incredible nature and topside activities to magical diving opportunities. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere making it a popular choice for divers.
If you missed the Dive Worldwide Belize talk in January you can catch up here.
Spend a week diving the remarkable barrier reef from Ambergris Caye before enjoying a few nights exploring the jungle with its Mayan ruins and caves.
Underwater there’s plenty on offer, with canyons, drop offs and swim throughs in addition to a unique topography and relatively easy conditions. You’ll be accompanied by a kaleidoscope of reef fish as you marvel at the array of sea fans and sponges adorning the seabed. Highlights include nurse shark, stingray, grouper, angelfish, turtle and dolphin.
You then head off-the-beaten-track in land where you stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the Belizean jungle. Here there are a multitude of activities on offer including hiking and cave tours or you can immerse yourself in Mayan culture and visit a number of nearby ruins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Duration: 13 days
Price from: £2,945 per person
Dive the Lighthouse and Turneffe Atolls from a liveaboard and experience the very best diving Belize has to offer. Located in the Lighthouse Reef there will be the opportunity to dive the Great Blue Hole. This atoll is full of marine life with angelfish, Creole wrasse, butterflyfish, barracuda and sponges found here.
Turneffe is the largest of the three atolls and offers a mixture of shallow reefs and sheer walls with a variety of reef fish and beautiful underwater scenery. Turtle, eagle ray, reef shark, snapper and jacks live on the healthy reefs. Dive sites of note include Half Moon Caye – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Painted Wall where you can find macro subjects such as ghostfish, crabs, blennies and invertebrates.
Duration: 10 days
Price from: £3,475 per person
Begin your holiday with some topside cultural discovery in Guatemala. This country packs a punch with its colonial architecture, Mayan ruins nestled in the verdant green jungle and stunning vistas. Don’t miss a visit to Lake Atilan, widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its volcanoes, thermal springs and incredible sunrises.
After a few days in Guatemala it’s time to go diving in Belize! Explore the barrier reef and spend time diving the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Hole – the largest of its kind in the world and one of the top reasons to visit Belize. Here the waters are crystal clear, the topography is impressive with large coral and rock formations and the marine life is prolific with reef and black-tip shark in addition to large grouper.
Duration: 14 days
Price from: £3,495 per person
If you want to experience the world class diving and topside highlights of spectacular Belize, contact the Dive Worldwide Team.
All prices are per person and include flights from the UK, liveaboard or accommodation, diving, most meals and airport transfers.