Major contractors of marine recreation services, including tour operators, hotels and cruise lines, are increasingly showing a preference for providers that adopt environmental good practices. Thus, for marine recreation providers - from dive operations to boat rentals to wildlife viewing tours - improving environmental performance can not only contribute to marine conservation and the economic development of coastal communities, it can also improve business, by increasing their attractiveness to companies seeking responsible suppliers.
This guide, which is based on an intensive consultation process with industry, local and national authorities, and conservation organizations, is designed for marine recreation providers seeking to understand and adopt environmental good practices. It can also be used as a tool by hoteliers, tour operators and cruise lines in selecting and managing suppliers based on sustainability criteria. For eight key topics associated with marine recreation, we offer a brief summary of the potential impacts, the rationale for good practice and suggestions on how to reduce these impacts. Recognizing that an extensive amount of information on environmental good practices for the marine recreation industry already exists, we offer sources for further information at the end of the guide.
In the beginning of the guide, we have inserted a self-assessment checklist to allow marine recreation providers to compare their own performance against environmen tal good practices. This checklist is similar to one that was developed for cruise lines, tour operators and hotels to evaluate their contracted marine recreation suppliers. The questions in the checklist help suppliers understand the issues considered by companies that are trying to make more informed contracting decisions.
Poorly conducted, uninformed or irresponsible marine recreation activities can seriously undermine the health and aesthetics of near-shore marine environments and coral reefs, the very resources that service providers rely on for a healthy busi ness and visitors demand for an enjoyable vacation. Improving environmental and social performance can not only prevent serious impacts, such as loss of tourist revenue, higher unemployment in the tourism sector, lower fish catches and health threats to local people, it can also improve the viability of the tourism industry as a whole. This, in turn, will stimulate economic growth, increase food and employment resources for local populations, and conserve ecosystems such as intact coral reefs that protect coastal communities from waves and storm damage.
The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB), the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), the International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) and the Tourism Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI) have partnered to consolidate the extensive information already developed by various organizations regarding good practices within the marine recreation industry to develop a common supply chain management tool. This tool will provide a central reference on good environmental and social practice from marine recreation providers for the corporate community to use during purchaser-supplier business processes.
If you are a cruiseline, hotelier or tour operator that offers scuba diving trips, sells sea-fishing excursions, or an individual/company directly involved in offering marine recreation services, this initiative can help make your business more sustainable, effective and profitable. Safeguarding the natural and cultural attractions that draw visitors to destinations is essential – this initiative seeks to engage those companies and individuals that wish to help protect the marine environment and the opportunities it offers for attracting tourists.
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