Male’ Maldives, 18th October 2022 – Maldives is one of the best diving places on earth. Now, the country is taking bold steps to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for differently abled persons, both local and tourists so that they may be able to fully enjoy the beauty Maldives has to offer.
On the 12th of October 2022 Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Poseidon Handicap Scuba Adventures (PHSA) USA and Atolls World launched the instructor training to support differently abled divers and tourists in Maldives. This is a great opportunity that will open doors for more people to join recreational scuba diving and snorkeling activities while at this pristine scuba diving ocean tourism destination. It is a mission of great pride for the country, with everyone jointly marching forward.
The Guests of Honours at the Launch Ceremony included the Minister of Environment & Technology, Minister Ms. Aminath Shauna; Minister of Higher Education, Minister Dr. Ibrahim Hassan, and the Minister of State for Gender, Family and Social Services Ms. Ifham Hussain. The Tourism Minister specially highlighted the presence of MADO (Maldives Alliance of Dive Operators) President Dr. Sham’aa A. Hameed at the event. Furthermore, senior executives from organisations such as MATI, NBAM, NGAM, MATATO and ATA were also present at the event.
Poseidon Handicap Scuba Adventures or PHSA USA was founded in 1992 by Mr. Mark Rausch. PHSA aims to teach the healing powers of the sea through its training program which educates divers on how to support differently abled persons underwater. PHSA teaches the following Specialized Educational Programs: Instructor Training Course (ITC), Dive Buddy Program, and Open Water Certification.
PHSA visits the divers’ destination to carry out the training program, which typically takes a week. They are currently visiting the Maldives, beginning a venture with Atolls World and Adaaran Resorts to teach the resorts’ diving team their courses.
The new PHSA Instructor Training Program for Divers with Special Needs was headed by the Minister of Tourism, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, with the vision of making the Maldives an accessible destination and support the implementation of differently abled and people-friendly tourism.
In his speech, Minister Mausoom mentioned the Ministry of Tourism will be working towards implementing innovative, travel-friendly and safe means for a well-rounded experience for differently abled tourists. He said this a a great venture which accomplishes two goals: presenting all persons with the opportunity to enjoy and experience what the Maldives has to offer, and allow more visitors from different market segments to visit the destination as it becomes more accessible.
Similarly, other Guests of Honour took to the stage to voice their support and enthusiasm to further this cause. Showcasing both passion and conviction, they emphasised the importance of taking this step towards accessibility.
Outlined by Mark Rausch CEO of PHSA USA, “Education and information of the benefits of health and social well-being of recreational scuba diving is important to assist the differently-abled community to join in accessible activities while enjoying the ocean. We conduct an intense course to equip the divers to get trained with theory classes and open water modules followed by examinations to certify them to welcome differently-abled persons to diving.”
Suresh Dissnayake, AVP Sales and Marketing at Adaaran Resorts says “We are glad to collaborate and welcome the differently abled people community engagement programs in the Maldives, to promote inclusivity and accessibility in to our hospitality industry.”
The Atolls World has always been a leader in reaching out to community causes which drive not only sustainable development but accessibility in tourism industry, said Bassam Adam the Managing Director of Atolls World and Authentica 360. Furthermore, he stressed out on the fact that this is not only about Atolls World, this is a much bigger cause and all stakeholders in the industry need to work together to make Maldives more inclusive.
For the very first time this program with dive centres around the Maldives is conducted to ensure dive instructors and professionals welcome a whole new segment of the differently abled community of the travel community to visit Maldives to enjoy the ocean tourism to the fullest. The programs are holistic including ocean literacy and sessions on sustainable tourism as well. This brave and bold step is only the beginning; we hope more and more people join this cause to steer the Maldives towards inclusivity and accessibility.