From the short review above, there are several codes of conduct have been promoted to dive tourism and operators. However, a sampling of codes of conduct which are gathered in this study has shown the similarity between them which are emphasizing in pre-dive briefings before getting into the water, no-contact policy, the limited use of diving sites and minimal discharged into the sea. These result support previous research by Camp & Fraser in 2012 who have highlighted the dive briefings as an important tool to minimize recreational SCUBA diving impacts on coral reefs. The briefing was suggested to cover the local biological information and the recaps of good practice underwater which undoubtedly will create an influence on diver behavior by reducing the number of interactions diver made with the reef and marine life. Whereas the pre-dive briefing, no-contact policy and minimal discharged would be self-regulation by dive shops to implement and promote to their guests, the implementation to limit the use of diving sites will need the collaboration and partnership among dive shops.
Case Study of the implementation of the Green Fins approach
This study will elaborate the “Green fins” approach by using the case study of the application of the Green Fins approach in Puerto Galera in the Philippines by Hunt, Harvey, Miller, Johnson & Phongsuwan in 2013. The study has revealed the great development of good practices by dive shops in Puerto Galera which emphasizing in the changing behavior of waste management, the effective environmental briefings given during pre-dive and the encouraging to staffs to correct bad divers’ behavior underwater (Hunt, Harvey, Miller, Johnson & Phongsuwan, 2013). This case study has shown that the Green Fins approach can be an effective tool for managing an environmentally sustainable diving industry. In our investigation, we have found out there are a half of dive shops in Koh Tao (23 Dive shops), who have already been the member of “Greens Fins” (“Dive Operators: Southern Thailand”, n.d.). While there are a few dive shops related to “Project AWARE” through PADI’s partnership (Pragnell-Raasch, 2016), there is no sign of “Blue Certified” on the island. This finding has led to the strong suggestion to other dive shops to adopt the “Greens Fins” approach. Since “Green Fins” organization has actively operated in Thailand (“Greenfins-Thailand”, n.d.) and their aim to providing consultations and marine education to dive shops (“About us – Green Fins”, n.d.) will be a good guideline for dive shops in Koh Tao to diminish their threat to marine ecosystems and have the same standard between dive shops in the area.
Implementation of good practices by dive shops in Koh Tao
As discussed in the case study of Puerto Galera in the Philippines (Hunt, Harvey, Miller, Johnson & Phongsuwan, 2013), a similar pattern was found in the study of dive operators in by Lucrezi & Saayman (2017), both studies indicated that the successful application of good practices by dive shops need the support of local, regional and national authorities. These researches ties well with the previous study by Wongthong (2013), who has investigated the limitation for the adoption of good practices by dive shops in Koh Tao. The lack of monitoring by the Thai government, budget limitation and the lack of knowledgeable staffs are major limiting factors for dive shops in Koh Tao to progress. However, the study has emphasized the adoption of good practices by dive shops, which will influence relevant stakeholders, economic benefits in the long term, and public image of the business. In order to improve Koh Tao’s current state and become a more sustainable dive tourism destination, this section has led to the conclusion for dives shop as the main stakeholder to adopt code of conduct by “Green Fins” with the environmental concentrate into their business which can be categorized into: the limited use of diving sites by reducing the number of divers at dive sites, waste minimization policy, the prohibition of touching or feeding and lastly and most importantly, providing appropriate education to staffs and guests (Appendix A). Nevertheless, the successful implementation will only be occurring if there is a collaboration between stakeholders such as policy and the support from the government. Next section in this paper, we will discuss further regarding this issue.