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  • Writer's pictureEmily Higgins

How Ecotourism Can Revive Coral Reefs

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Tourism is an extremely important part of the global economy. For many countries, the natural beauty of coral reefs and the beaches they protect, along with the fresh seafood they provide, are a huge draw for visitors. In fact, tourism driven by coral reefs alone drives nearly 70 million trips that bring in an astounding $36 billion a year globally.

Unfortunately, with this revenue comes pollution and damaged corals as a result of careless visitors and boating traffic. These stresses are contributing to the global decline of coral reefs, threatening the hundreds of species that rely on them, including humans.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Eco-tourism encourages responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education ( When communities understand their economic incentive to preserve reefs, and tourists learn how they can make their visit a positive impact on natural environments, coral reefs can be protected by tourism rather than harmed.

IntelliReefs is committed to the values of ecotourism. In Sint Maarten, we work with the Nature Foundation, Reef Life Foundation, and local businesses to install underwater attractions with our underwater Oceanite structures that feed and house large fish populations, attract wild coral, and enhance biodiversity. This initiative was just recognized by Greening the Islands, an organization dedicated to promoting sustainability and self-sufficiency of island communities, with a 2020 Sustainable Tourism Award. More importantly, we hope that by demonstrating how economic stability and healthy coral reefs go hand in hand, this project encourages governments and people around the world to implement sustainable tourism practices.

For more information about our work in Sint Maarten, please visit:

All photos from Envato Elements - purchased license.

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