New regulations proposed for dive shop tour operators

Cancun, Q.R. – The National Advisory Committee on Standardization Tourist (Comité Consultivo Nacional de Normalización Turística) has proposed the draft of Mexican Official Standard (NOM) – 012 regulating diving tourism in the state of Quintana Roo.

The new regulations, which will include 16 additional coastal states in Mexico, will determine the requirements needed for dive shop tour operators. The proposed regulations will cover, in depth, safety measure compliance requirements.

According to the Professional Association of Diving in Cancun (Asociación de Profesionales de Buceo de Cancún), diving is one of the most in-demand tourist activities in the state, and falls within the top 10 in the country.

One of the newly established requirements will be registering with the National Secretary of Tourism (Registro Nacional de Turismo de la Secretaría), which can only be done by companies that are accredited with certified guides. Companies will also be examined for liability insurance.

The new regulations will also include working in coordination with the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) to gather an official census of authorized boats used for the purpose of diving tourism.

Ricardo Gomez Lozano, director of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), explains that boats authorized by the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) for tours in protected natural areas must, for the safety of tourists, ensure at least a one meter distance away from reef areas or other areas deemed of environmental value. The bill is due for discussion in the Senate and is expected to have a proposal for changes within the next 60 days.

PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, certifies nearly one million new divers each year. Approximately 94 percent of those certified practice between the United States and the Caribbean.

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