Figure X is shown the relationship between dive shop with other stakeholders. Dive shop, as was discussed in the theoretical framework, is one of the primary actors in the dive tourism (Lucrezi & Saayman, 2017). This section will discuss the relationship between dive shop with other stakeholders on the island of Koh Tao.
The relationship between dive shops and nature are shown to be close between them. The study by Toyoshima et al. (2015) and Hunt et al. (2013) who has examined the impact of diving tourism to the nature has identified that dive operators tend to form a habit and preferring of taking their clients to visit the same sites on a continual basis which means that every time a group of beginner divers goes on board they would be visiting the same site as the previous groups. On the other hand, this repetitive can result in the overuse of resources and also inevitable damage to coral reefs. The study by Lamb et al. (2014) who has been studied six diving sites around the Island of Koh Tao to define between high-use diving sites and low-use diving sites, has declared Koh Tao’s diving sites to over exceeds the recommended capacity for scuba diving in the coral reef site which should only be 5000-6000 divers per year. This study necessitates all dive shops for a serious to improve their practices before coral reefs will be more damaging. Many studied have revealed how Dive operations can affect the coastal and marine resource (Camp & Fraser, 2012; Hunt, Harvey, Miller, Johnson & Phongsuwan, 2013; Wongthong & Harvey, 2014). Boat anchoring as an example can widely damage both corals and other life in the benthos region as a result from anchor dropping (Hendriks et al., 2013), furthermore, the movement of the anchor chain can impact marine life in that area (La Manna, Donno, Sarà & Ceccherelli, 2015). A study conducted by Brown et al. (2017) has revealed one of the major factors which decrease growth rates of coral reefs and increase an opportunity for coral disease and mortality is human activities especially pollution from litter, and waste released which aligned with the study by Lamb, True, Piromvaragorn & Willis (2014) mentioned above. Consequently, there are general standard requirements have been released for a dive shop to follow. The guidelines for both boats-oriented activities such as anchoring, litter, and waste released, ship grounding on coral reefs and water-oriented activities such as diving, snorkeling, walking on the reef, and watching marine animals which guideline is mainly concentrating on environmentally sustainability (Harriott, 2002).
The relationship between dive shops and the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) which is the world’s largest dive training organization. Prior to discussing on this relationship, PADI is monitored by the World Recreational SCUBA Training Council (WRSTC) which is an organization responsible to designate a worldwide safety of the recreational diving public and has a responsibility to cooperate between worldwide dive training organizations in reaching international reliability in course training standards (“World Recreational Scuba Training Council – Mission Statement”, n.d.). Since 1999, the recreational SCUBA diving industry on Koh Tao has been registered under the World Recreational SCUBA Training Council (WRSTC), whereas there are many diving certifications such as SSI, NAUI or PADI. The majority of dive shops in Koh Tao has offered PADI training courses. The quality of dive operation is monitored regularly PADI representatives to adhere to the same criteria in other rural areas. Therefore, there are nearly no differences in the training plans, making Koh Tao an internationally accepted diving destination (“SCUBA Diving Koh Tao Thailand”, n.d.; Thole, 2017). However, PADI and other training organizations have influence over dive businesses and they have been instrumental in promoting and recognizing environmental good practices, they hold no power over the individual dive operators. It is up to the dive businesses to strike action and voluntarily adopt environmentally appropriate management strategies (Lucrezi & Saayman, 2017;
Dwyer, Edwards, Mistilis, Roman & Scott, 2009).
The dive shop is defined to have a potent relationship with people. This relationship can be justified by applying the framework of Demand and Supply in microeconomics, which was explained in “Tourism Economic” by Tribe (2011) as the study of the relationship between tourists as a buyers and business units relate to establishing quantities of products in the market. Applied to our case study, when the number of tourists travelling to Koh Tao is increasing, undoubtedly, the demand for local businesses on the island will be developed including all tourism facilities and therefore increase employment opportunities for local residents and contribute to the local economy. The local commercial enterprises in this study which should have been impacted by the growth of tourist numbers including “Dive Shop”, transportation, Ferry operator, and boat operator. Therefore, we can assume that the relationship between “Dive Shop” and other local businesses would be indubitable close as they have shared the same stake in the tourism of the island.
The relationship between dive shops with Thai government is assumed to be low density, due to Thai central government has only presented their authority through the island though regional staffs. Whereas basic services such as water supply, phone, and electricity provided by government is one of the important resources for tourism business on the island to operate, all local businesses including dive shop have the obligation to pay taxes, including a value-added tax (VAT) and a business tax based on net revenues to the government (Nagai, Mektrairat & Funatsu, 2008). However, the announcement of Koh Tao as an environmental protected area (EPA) by Thai Government in 2014 as has been discussed in the theoretical framework might affect the operation of dive shops in the future. This announcement is expected to contribute to new guidelines, policies and management plans for coastal and marine resources in the area Satumanatpan, Moore, Lentisco & Kirkman, 2017).
As discussed in this section, many studies have been revealed the impact of dive shops and dive tourism to coral reefs in Koh Tao (Lamb, True, Piromvaragorn & Willis, 2014; Wongthong & Harvey, 2014) which is directly interrelated to the environmental pillar in the sustainability. Whereas dive shops have been distinguished to have a firm relationship with residents and tourists on the island which would create an impact in the social pillar. Lastly, as referred in the theoretical framework the economics of this small island is majorly run by dive tourism and so dive shop would be assumed as a major actor who has created an impact to the economic pillar. The study of the economic benefit of diving in the Similan Islands by Tapsuwan & Asafu-Adjaye, (2008), has also confirmed that with the properly managed and maintained of coral reefs, diving tourism will continue to create value to the economics of the country. Taken together, dive shop has an impact on all three pillars of sustainability, which was defined by UNEP & WTO (2005), and is considered as the major stakeholder of Koh Tao in this study.