Last week, for the first time in more than two years I found myself on an international flight to Sydney, Australia. There were new requirements, visas, vaccine and immigration documentation related to the pandemic, but clearly, long-haul travel is now a green light most everywhere. As I settled in, this trip felt different – like mental and physical shackles that had restrained my travel were coming off. Finally, I thought, the world can start visiting some of our favorite dive destinations again.
Travel data show that an increasing number of divers are acting on this very instinct. Dive-related travel in 2021 rebounded significantly over 2020, and at a pace well above international travel in general–you can see this in hotel, tourism and flight data. Divers are adventurous and are proving to be among the first visitors to confidently book dive travel and return to diving destinations as they reopen. Many southeastern Asian countries with world-class diving have evolved policy to open their borders with loosening restrictions; no doubt this will continue in 2022. This is good news for all of us as life surges forward and nature and natural systems continue on as they have, regardless of our frustrations.
I was reminded of this a couple weeks ago when I was several miles offshore of the Californian coast with a group of friends. As we were relaxing between dives, five gray whales – three adults and two calves – slowly and methodically passed us off our port side, relentlessly following the ancient songline of their ancestors in migrating thousands of miles over months, from the birthing lagoons of Baja California to the summer feeding grounds in the Alaskan waters. Euphoric, we watched as they swam on peacefully, reminding me that no matter what is happening in the world, nature simply carries on as it always has – and so should we.
PADI CEO & President
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