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March 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 31, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Chinese Scuba Revolution

and what it means to the dive industry

from the March, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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In our January feature on Palau, our reviewer bemoaned the rising tide of new divers coming from mainland China who were altering the diving experience beyond recognition. He said, "For the first time in a generation, rapid change is afoot. You won't see it from a liveaboard, but you will see it if you stay in Koror. That change can be distilled down to three words: Chinese tourism explosion."

Each instructor taught only one skill before the trainee was passed on to the next instructor

It's not just happening in Palau, but what is it that makes Chinese divers different from any others? Mainly, it's the sheer numbers. When a group of Western dive-center operators visited tropical Hainan Island, off China's southern coast, a few years ago, they were astounded to find that one dive center had become a type of mass production operation system, organized so that each instructor taught only one skill before the trainee was passed on to the next instructor. The Westerners observed that few of these divers developed truly proficient skills but that the dive center was certifying as many as one-thousand each day. We asked a variety of dive center operators who receive Chinese divers for their observations....

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