Adding better environmental measures now will help travel firms emerge stronger as more sustainable businesses when Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted.

Dive and snorkel operators being targeted with the message to ensure companies keep sustainability high on its agenda during the crisis.

The call comes from the Reef-World Foundation – international co-ordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative.

The charity is highlighting the importance of preventing environmental threats, even when firms don’t have divers in the water.

Green Fins aims to protect coral reefs by promoting a sustainable dive and snorkel industry.

Reef-World Foundation director Chloe Harvey said: “While we realise it might not be possible for everyone, we recommend that those who can take this downtime to pause and prepare; having to put many other aspects of the day-to-day running of the business on hold offers operators a valuable opportunity to review all internal policies and procedures that can reduce their environmental footprint.

“A strong overarching sustainability policy should cover key environmental aspects such as: including environmental content in pre-departure documents and materials for guests; making sure staff include environmental points in their pre-dive and boat briefings; ensuring waste is minimised, recycled whenever possible; and making sure any hazardous waste (such as used engine oil or spent batteries) is collected, stored and disposed of responsibly.

“As well as reviewing policies, management could also use this time to research suitable suppliers of eco-friendly cleaning products, mask defog and reef-safe sunscreen as well as reviewing internal training sessions to make sure all staff and crew are aware of any new environmental policies, or reminded of those already in place.

“Businesses could even start developing a marketing push to showcase their dedication towards protecting the environment as a way of attracting eco-minded customers who might be researching post-lockdown holiday options.

“While we appreciate this is a stressful time for members of the travel industry, putting better environmental measures in place now will help travel businesses come out stronger – and with a more sustainable business – when travel restrictions are lifted.”