(Yicai Global) Sept. 13 -- The cultural history of China is what draws most people to the country, with the Great Wall and Forbidden City just one of the countless on-land attractions. However, even culturally minded travelers are intrigued by the new, burgeoning scuba diving industry. Hebei and its 350 square metre catacombs give way to where the Great Wall meets the ocean, with sections underwater providing an intriguing past.
What’s more, Chinese firms are moving into markets abroad to spread the message. March 2018 brought the news that one firm had invested CNY490m in the Phillipines diving industry. Between this increased positivity towards the market and improving global standards for scuba divers, it’s arguable that Chinese tourism will benefit massively from it over the next few years.
Improving standards globally
Scuba diving, like any physical activity, has inherent safety risks that need to be assessed and training given to minimize. A recent study published by Frontiers in Psychology made the recommendation that a safety of culture be introduced so standards across global diving scenes can be improved and headlines concerning diver safety be reduced. Schools are now available in China with the hope of intrepid divers scouting out new locations; it has been noted that there are numerous virgin diving sites in China that require scouting. The cumulative effect is that, arguably, safety is much improved for diving in China and facilitating the expansion of the industry into new, exciting areas.
Emphasizing the cultural aspects
According to travel consultants Padi, much of the South China coast is currently reserved for fishing, meaning it’s not a key area for divers. As a result, many are looking much closer to the shore or inland entirely. The benefit of this is that cultural artifacts are being brought up from complete obscurity. Take, for example, the recently unearthed, 1,300 year old Lion City, submerged beneath a lake in the Zhejang Province. Curiously, the city had been inhabited until 1959 when engineering projects required it to be flooded; as such, it’s become somewhat of a cultural icon as diving clubs explore the decades-old homes and infrastructure of the city.
Providing responsibility for the planet
Plastic in the oceans is a hot button topic for global governments and one that the Chinese authorities have proactively addressed; according to China Dialogue, the NDRC has promised measures to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used and, further, to prevent its movement into the ocean post-disposal. This is reflected in public interest in scuba diving; July brought the establishment of a Project Aware-approved DAD school, which trains divers to raise awareness of waste they encounter and to remove where possible.
Scuba diving is a growing industry in China, and the position it takes in intersecting extreme sports, high culture and environmentalism places it well for an influential role as the years go by. With state authorities and NGOs taking an active interest in training new divers and expanding the industry, expect it to feature heavily and become a big piece of the Chinese tourism sector. In the process, it should help to do a lot of good for the country and for the planet.
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