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Saudi gets ready for divers with disabilities

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Dive instructor training using webbed gloves (RSG)
Dive instructor training using webbed gloves (RSG)
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Two Saudi Arabian dive-centres are said to have become the state’s first PADI “adaptive service facilities”, promising full accessibility for guests with disabilities and special needs. 

The centres are run by developer Red Sea Global (RSG), which is wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and they feature in what it calls its new “regenerative tourism destinations” along the Red Sea coast. 

Regenerative tourism refers to visitors volunteering to leave a destination in better condition than that in which they found it.

The PADI rating requires the dive-centres to have PADI Adaptive Techniques instructors on their staff and wheelchair access throughout, including for training pools and dive-boats. Infrastructure and logistics, communication methods, training protocols and safety measures “are designed to be inclusive and welcoming to all divers”, says RSG.  

Black-out mask training in Saudi Arabia  (RSG)
Black-out mask training (RSG)

Instructors participated in three days of classroom, pool and open water training, using webbed gloves and black-out masks to simulate diving with limited mobility and sight impairment, and learning how to guide divers with such disabilities. They are now qualified to teach the PADI Adaptive Techniques Diver and Adaptive Support Diver specialities.

The two PADI facilities – Nujuma Dive Centre at the Nujuma Ritz Carlton Reserve hotel in the Ummahat Islands, and TBV Dive Club at Turtle Bay Village – are operated by RSG through its diving experiences subsidiary Galaxea. PADI lists some 47 approved dive-centres in Saudi Arabia.

Three more hotels are due to open in the first of the regenerative tourism destinations, dubbed “The Red Sea”, later this year – and by 2030 the plan is for it to contain 50 hotels and up to 1,000 residential properties. 

RSG says that Saudi guests have been flying to The Red Sea since last September and that international flights are due to begin “imminently”, with completion of its airport.

The “buy-out only” Thuwal Private Retreat is due to open later this year, with a second regenerative tourism destination called Amaala set to start receiving guests during 2025.

Also read: Luxury Red Sea beach resorts planned for Saudi Arabia, Top 4 Best Red Sea Diving Destinations

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