Greek scuba diving parks to open
Archimedes: October 2013
'scuba divers can visit important underwater sites'.
Scuba divers can look forward to exciting holidays in the Greek islands when government approved parks open next year. Permission has been granted to open the first two scuba diving parks in Greece and make underwater archaeological sites open to divers.
The two diving parks will operate off the coast of the Peloponnese where notable shipwrecks lie on the sea floor including that of the Greek tanker Irenes Serenade.
.The incident in 1978, just off Navarino Bay, was one of the worst pollution incidents in the Mediterranean. The Irene Serenade loaded with a cargo of 102,660 tonnes of Iraqi crude oil exploded and sank en route from Syria to Trieste.
By the summer of 2014 scuba divers on holiday in Greece and the Greek islands will be free to explore the wreck.
The establishment of the diving parks was initially announced by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in August last year.
It followed the freeing up of restrictions on diving in Greek waters in 2005 after decades of indecision.
Now Greece not only allows recreational diving in Greek Island waters but also actively promotes it.
But important archaeological sites have been strictly off limits so far. Now the government is confident there new diving bill could position Greece prominently into the world's scuba diving industry and boost the country's alternative tourism possibilities.
Tourism leaders sat the 'unreasonable' restrictions imposed in the past by archeologists are now being successfully modified and the concept of 'diving parks' has been firmly established.
The new diving parks are expected to boost the country's tourist traffic and also help create new jobs. Notably, the legal framework now provides proper protection for important sites and precious underwater antiquities.
"There will be protection for the safety and the adequate professional skills of the divers, who will now enjoy clear waters plus unique marine life and other hitherto unutilised underwater attractions," says a government report.
The move follows a major diving conference in Athens in 2010 where speakers explained how diving tourism is being already developed in South East Mediterranean and the competitor countries.
Presentations included an action plan of to promote Greece as a diving destination, ways to develop of marine protected areas and operational details.
A submarine museum park of 2,500 square kilometres is currently under construction in the Northern Sporades and is expected to open in to the public in 2015.
The site has been classed an underwater archaeological site since 1996, an amazing underwater museum with ten shipwrecks on the sea bed.
Local tourism leaders say development of the dive site will open the way to extend the tourist season and promote the region for holiday visitors as well as strengthen and protect the underwater life and cultural heritage.