ADEX CONFRONTS CLIMATE CHANGE
With a history spanning 22 years, ADEX is the biggest and longest-running dive expo in Asia. Endorsed by major organisations such as DEMA (USA) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), it is considered to be one of the industry’s “mustattend” events. ADEX 2017, held from 7–9 April, lived up to that reputation with a record-breaking 60,296 visitors!
ADEX brings together distinguished VIPs and speakers from across the globe, and provides a platform for various exhibitors such as dive operators, equipment manufacturers, and national tourism boards.
Ultimately, ADEX serves as a creative platform for the diving community, giving them a voice and providing a venue where they can meet, exchange ideas, and be recognised for their achievements.
In previous years, each show has been dedicated to an iconic marine species, but the pressing threats posed by our rapidly changing climate – including rising sea levels, the runaway loss of biodiversity, collapse of coral reef systems and more – prompted Underwater360 to dedicate ADEX 2017 to confronting climate change.
The diving and water sports communities are the ambassadors of our oceans – we see the damage that has been done firsthand. ADEX 2017 featured numerous talks from scientists and conservationists, designed to raise awareness about what we can do to help make positive change.
The expo was kicked off by stirring presentations from world-renowned speakers leading the charge against climate change, such as Dr. Sylvia Earle (ADEX Guest of Honour International), Dr. Clive Wilkinson (ADEX Keynote Speaker), and Mr. José Ramos-Horta (ADEX Guest of Honour Asia).
Following their inspirational messages and calls to action, awards were presented. The BlueGreen360 awards, introduced for the first time at ADEX, honours businesses and individuals in the marine tourism industry – pioneers who are dedicated to inspiring and championing sustainable solutions in their day-to-day operations. Three businesses and one individual were selected from more than a dozen nominees by marine conservation technical experts from the Coral Triangle Center (CTC), United Nations Environmental Programme, and Reef-World Foundation.
The Hae-Nyeo divers from Korea were also conveyed a special award by the Historical Diving Society, following their placement on the UNESCO listing of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In turn, Mr. Ha Jeong Min, Chairman of the Korean Public Art Association, presented John Thet with an award on behalf of the Hae-Nyeo in appreciation of his efforts to provide a platform for them at ADEX 2016. This was instrumental in their UNESCO recognition.
The day also saw the convening of the Scuba360 Business Forum, which provides an unprecedented opportunity to openly discuss sustainability within the diving industry. This year was no exception: Co-organised by the Coral Triangle Center, all segments of the diving industry gathered to discuss the future resilience of the diving business.
On the first day – and throughout ADEX – a multitude of speakers delivered their presentations to eager and attentive crowds. They ranged from underwater photographers, videographers, conservationists, scuba divers, tek divers, freedivers, trade speakers, kitesurfers – and even mermaids, who performed for visitors!
There was also a fair share of entertainment, such as the Kids’ Zone led by Shark Guardian: With its “shark drone” balloons that people could race along the expo’s corridors, this place was well visited by people of all ages!
At the end of the day, there was time for people to kick their feet up. ADEX organised a gala event – The Big Blue Evening – in celebration of the launch of the ADEX Ocean17 Festival (a series of festival celebrations that took place in the week leading up to ADEX, covering films, images, books, music, art and science).
The Big Blue Evening was emceed by Mr. Leslie Leaney from the Historical Diving Society Asia. Speakers included A.G. Saño, who talked about how he uses art to raise awareness about climate change, and Laurent Ballesta, who uses his amazing images of his expedition to the Arctic to illustrate the impact of climate change in the most remote places. The evening ended with the premiere screening (for the first time in Asia) of Dr. Sylvia Earle’s newest work, Sea of Hope, as well as a lucky prize draw, which saw winners walking away with amazing prizes such as free dive trips!