Responsible tourism


Striving to make every possible aspect of business operations ethical and sustainable is high on the blue o two agenda. Winning the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award for 'Best in a Marine Environment' is testament to this aim.

The pressure on businesses to play a social, economic and environmental role in the way they conduct themselves is ever growing. As such, blue o two has actively fostered an ethos which has a positive impact in these areas; examples of initiatives are listed below:

1. Protect the Environment

- HAYAH Reef Clean-up itineraries - participation and education on reef conservation
- Project shark itineraries - raising awareness of sharks and the issues facing them in the Red Sea and Worldwide
- Hurghada Plastic Bag Ban - support by not using plastic on any of our vessels and selling blue o two reusable bags
- Hurghada Recycling Plant project - all plastic waste from our our vessels and Egypt office is recycled
- Water dispensers are provided onboard and re-usable bottles sold to cut down on plastic consumption and waste
- Bite-Back exclusive Red Sea partnership - education and fundraising
- Support to the Red Sea Sharks trust - education and fundraising
- Red Sea sustainable seafood menu - we comply to a sustainable seafood menu created by HEPCA's marine biologists

2. Respect local cultures

- We have operational procedures in place to ensure that cultural traditions can be continued and religious holidays taken.
- We are sympathetic to the culture of our team. We work in a Muslim country where religion moulds the culture and want to make sure that our staff are able to uphold their culture whilst working for a European company in this demanding industry. One example how we try to do this is Ramadan; during this religious period we employ more staff to lighten the work load of the locals.

3. Benefit local communities

- We use local suppliers - we have built-up dedicated relationships with local providers for food supplies, scuba diving services, marine mechanics, merchandise production, laundry and ground services, providing a reliable income stream to support their business growth.
- We employ locals therefore having a positive impact on the local economy.
- We contribute to a well educated and trained community - we train all of our Egyptian staff, not only within their job roles but also in scuba diving as well as; search, rescue and emergency procedures. They are also given the opportunity to train in other areas that they express interest
- We support employee's families - blue o two pay for insurance with a private hospital for all staff so that if they are ever ill they are properly taken care of and their families do not have to worry about the financial strain due to the cost of medical care; no other dive operators in the area provide this kind of medical insurance. In addition to this, if any equipment (fridges etc) is no longer in working condition for the vessels, when they go into dry dock, the equipment is given to local families in need
- We have a fantastic and giving crew - our crew choose to give a portion of their salary and tips to a local charity 'Resala' which works with poorer people in the community and helps them with housing, food and clothing etc.

4. Conserve natural resources

- Hurghada Plastic Bag Ban.
- Using email to send digital quotes and bookings rather than printing and posting.
- We use video and audio conferencing rather than travelling for face to face meetings.
- We switch off and unplug all electrical equipment in our offices when not in use.
- We have insulated the roof space and installed heat reflecting window coverings to reduce energy usage during winter months in our UK office.

5. Minimise pollution

- We have employed the expertise of a leading resource and waste management company, to ensure that we maximise the recycling and resource efficiency of our UK office.
- We use video and audio conferencing rather than travelling for face to face meetings.
- Hurghada Recycling Plant project.
- Water dispensers are provided onboard and re-usable bottles sold to cut down on plastic consumption and waste.
- Plastic bottle waste is collected and recycled, both on our vessels and in our Egypt office.
- We do not give out plastic bags for on board purchases and we sell blue o two reusable bags
- All plastic bags are re-used. Some are given to the HAYAH Woman's Project which they weave to make new stronger bags
- Vegetable catering for vessels is supplied by local companies who use traditional driftwood crates or wood from carpenter's leftovers.
- We have a strict policy on board our vessels that nothing is thrown into the sea and all our bins have lids to prevent accidental littering.
- UK staff car share, cycle or use public transport where possible to travel to work.

Thanks to Dray Van Beeck and Mike North for providing the underwater images featured.

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