Scuba diving has become a multibillion dollar industry, as throngs of tourists across the globe get their Padi and set out to explore the magical universe of life below water in far-flung destinations. And a beautiful world it truly is: mysterious, colorful and filled with an incredible range of vibrant sea creatures from coral reefs to fish to sharks and whales. As any diver will tell you, it’s hard to beat the pure enjoyment of being underwater and it’s not hard to understand why close to one million divers get certified every year. But this love for the nether seas can often come at a huge environmental cost for the local communities who welcome divers, especially here in Asia.
While this rapidly expanding industry is great for economic growth, it also presents huge environmental risks. Our oceans and seas are essential to humanity’s survival. Covering over 70% our planet, they represent the largest ecosystem on Earth, and we rely on them for food, energy and water. Divers are often the first to witness the environmental degradation of our oceans, from underwater debris and pollution, to declining sea life population due to overfishing, to the detrimental effects of climate change such as global warming and reef acidification (lest we forget the massive coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in 2017 that devastated two thirds of one of the world’s most striking natural wonders), all of which are threatening the state of our seas.
Enter ZuBlu, Asia’s first sustainable dive platform, is on a mission to help scuba divers discover the most exciting dive destinations across Asia-Pacific while educating the public on how to safeguard our marine environment. A user-friendly website with a comprehensive search tool to filter what you’re looking for most out of your desired travel, the year-old company aggregates first-hand experience of every destination listed, curating a hand-picked selection of unique experiences and a range of resorts to suit all budgets. Founded by longtime divers Adam Broadbent and Matthew Oldfield, the website features dive destinations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Maldives, with new destinations soon to be announced.
Just as consumers crave a deeper emotional connection with the brands they choose to support, travellers today are looking for meaningful dive experiences rather than the standard, cookie-cutter tour. While there is undoubtedly a wealth of information available online, the true gems are hard to pick out, which is why seasoned divers and those seeking personalized experiences look to ZuBlu to tailor for individual interests, schedules, and other criteria. For example, are you looking specifically to swim with a whale shark or dive through old ship wrecks and caves? And when would you like to travel? The full-service agency matches you with your ideal excursion in the most suitable locations during the optimal seasons.
At the core of ZuBlu’s mission is marine conservation and education, both of which Adam and Matthew have long championed as experienced divers themselves. As Adam explains, “people want authentic experiences, they are looking for something a bit deeper – like helping out a turtle hatchery or building artificial reefs – than what’s currently on offer. There is a great energy, especially in our generation now, to do good. But it’s very hard to sift everything online and find that.”
Working alongside eco-conscious tour operators and resorts that actively practice and implement responsible environmental initiatives, the website highlights a summary of sustainable business practices for each listing so that divers can be agents of change through their travel choices. ZuBlue has recently announced a new partnership with Green Fins, internationally coordinated by UK-based charity Reef-World Foundation, and their collaboration looks to reduce the ecological impact on coral reefs and marine biodiversity by offering access to information on adopting eco-friendly diving and snorkelling practices. #VoteWithYourDollar
Looking to educate divers to have a positive effect on marine conservation while sharing unique and stunning destinations, ZuBlu joins the ranks of sustainable companies looking for lasting change. The company has also recently launched an updated online platform to enhance user experience. Memorable packages such as their Mantra Trust Expeditions or Nomadic Dive and Trek Safari combinations has already set the site apart from the usual crowd, but watch out for their new specialty trip option, curated for an even more personalized, bespoke experiences. One to bookmark for sure!
All images courtesy of ZuBlu.