[Coral-List] Please fill in my survey to so that I can compare diving destinations around the world

Bastiaan Vermonden bastiaan.vermonden at gmail.com
Thu Jan 19 04:04:25 EST 2012

Dear coral listers,

I want to compare diving destinations from around the world based on how
likely divers are to encounter certain animals. To get this data I want to
survey as many divers as I can. I assume that many people here go diving
regularly so if you have been diving recently would you please be so kind
to fill out my survey here:


It should take about 5 minutes to fill out and asks you where you have been
diving, how many dives you made and whether you saw 5 different types of
animals yes or no.


Bastiaan Vermonden

PS: this is my motivation for doing this if you are interested

Why do I want to compare coral reefs

I believe there is a basic market failure in the tourism industry which
stops the tourism industry in investing (more) in the health of coral reefs

What you would expect in a proper economic market is that the price of a
good such as coral reefs is related to the quality of that good. So to use
cars as a metaphor you expect to pay more for a sportscar which goes from 0
to 100 km per hour in 4 seconds than one that does it in 10 seconds.

However when we look at tourism related to coral reefs I have the feeling
although I cannot substantiate it with hard data that this is not the case
for coral reef related tourism. There are locations where the reef is so
degraded that it has no recreational value and places where the quality is
so good that it is very expensive to visit but in between I have the
feeling prices are approximately the same. I believe this is due to local
pricing competition which drives down prices to levels which are close to
the cost price of organizing diving, snorkeling, recreational angling trips
or other tourism activities.

I believe that this problem largely exists because recreational users do
not have the quantitative data to properly compare different destinations.
So for example divers now have to rely on qualitative (anecdotal) evidence
to determine which place they should visit. So for example if we have 2
different destinations and both state that divers sometimes see sharks
there, then which place is the better one to visit? Maybe at one location
there is a 1 in 100 (1%) chance and at the other there is a 1 in 20 (5%)
chance of encountering a shark, this is a big difference but without this
quantitative data the diver has to hope he is lucky and chooses the right

However if we inform divers with quantitative data which area is the best
then divers will always choose the best place they can afford. So if divers
do not know the difference between the 2 locations they have a 50% chance
of choosing the best location however if they know the quantitative
difference they will have a 100% chance of choosing the best place. This
means that the destination where the chance of encountering a shark is 1%
has to start improving or lower its prices to become competitive while the
other has a strong incentive to protect its sharks to maintain its
advantage. So with this quantitative data we can create a
national/regional/global market which competes on quality rather than a
local market that competes on price.

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