The massive increase of waterside developments are resulting in expansion of dive and water sports companies setting up in the region.
In light of this growing trend, the Middle East is increasing its popularity as a venue for marine-related leisure activities, according to experts.
“There has been a constant growth in marine tourism, especially diving, and a recent boom in the number of divers in the UAE. We have seen more interest from both experienced and novice divers in the past years. These divers see diving as more than a sport, it has become a lifestyle,” said Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, executive director, Emirates Diving Association.
PADI has issued more than 154,000 diver certifications from 2004 – 2013 within GCC countries, and has 2,550 professional members across the Middle East.
“We’ve been pleased to record a significant growth in our member numbers – doubling over the last five years – and as the region continues to develop in interest and maturity, this is only going to increase,” Al Zu’bi added.
The UAE in particular is seen as an attractive hub for divers, offering a wide range of dive sites around its coasts, and a base of operations for diving tours in the region. The ongoing development of new and existing projects The Canal, and AED six billion mega-island Bluewaters Island near Jumeirah Beach Residence will further stimulate creation of water sport companies.