It has been a trend worldwide that development interventions should be “green-to-blue economy” or otherwise known as the “ridge-to-reef approach”. This means that governments should not just focus on reforestation alone, or agricultural development alone, but the entire biodiversity, which should encompass both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Since there have been heaps of forestry and agriculture programs in the past, development funding at present are focused on integrated coastal resource management, marine protected area development and management, reef management and the like. In line with this, eco-tourism has been promoted in resource-rich countries like Australia, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Japan, the US, Brazil, Canada, Belize and Dubai. This is to boost awareness on the significance of maintaining ecological integrity.
Among the most visited tourism sites are reefs like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Red Sea Coral Reef near Egypt, the Belize Barrier Reef and Florida Reef in the Atlantic Ocean. Although some scientists claim that scuba diving on these areas threatens coral reefs, we can’t really ward off people who would love to see these unique and wonderful marine creatures. Besides, I don’t think scuba diving is really that destructive. I believe divers are responsible enough as they can’t dive without license and I assume they know where to delve into.
Personally, I would like to experience sky diving over the Atlantic Ocean to see the Gulf, the Florida Reef, and the Florida Keys. I would then go snorkeling over the reef and take another encounter with dolphins.
I wonder what tourists should bring when spending holidays in Florida Keys? Certainly, if traveling from overseas, passport; otherwise one would be stranded at the immigration office; then probably a DSLR and underwater cameras to capture under- and over-water sceneries. There are definitely grocery and drug stores to purchase what one may need, but it could be a lot cheaper to buy outside tourism sites items like sunscreen lotion, soap and shampoo. For sure bathing suits, comfortable flats, floppyhat, sunnies, snorkel and goggles are equally important. I think it is better to have a pair of reef sandy flip flops to enjoy a relaxing walk on coastlines. Some girl's sandals may be comfy on the streets but not as cozy on the sand.
Going back to Eco-tourism, I think the best way to maintain ecological integrity is to bring more people to natural environments like the reefs. The consciousness about preservation and conservation should spark from every individual. When people see the beauty of these natural environments, the more they see the need to preserve and conserve it. It would be beneficial, therefore, for governments to provide incentives to eco-tourism establishments who are offering cheap tour packages with environmental awareness building.