Naxos, Paros, Kalymnos, Leros are the four islands of the South Aegean Region that are part of the approved Strategic Plan of the South Aegean Region for the construction of diving parks.
The Monitoring Committee of the Interreg V-A Greece-Cyprus Cooperation Program 2014-2020, at its 4th meeting on 14/9/2017 in Lesbos, has approved seven strategic projects including the project “An.Di.Kat.: Diving routes in Maritime Protected Areas Regions of the Eastern Mediterranean – Development of a Diving Tourism Network “.
The local governing body in the overall strategy for upgrading and enriching the tourist product focuses on alternative forms of tourism in its aim to target new high-level visitors while the selection of islands has been balanced between the Cyclades and Dodecanese.
The project is part of Interreg V-A Greece-Cyprus Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2014-2020 and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund by (85%) and national resources (15%). In the project apart from the South Aegean Region, which is the lead partner, also participate the Development Company of PNA-ENERGY SA, the Municipality of Samos, the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment , the Oceanographic Center of the University of Cyprus, the Tourism Development and Promotion Company of Limassol Region LTD. and the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works of Cyprus.
The project has a duration of three years and a total budget of 3,27 million Euros, of which 571.000 Euros will go to the South Aegean Region and 310.000 Euros to Energiaki SA.
It is worth noting that there are 25 million certified divers in the world, 4 million are Europeans, and 3 million of them choose Mediterranean destinations for their dives. The turnover of European divers is about 2 billion euros a year. But there could be much more, as experts estimate, if diving parks, marine protected areas and underwater museums were created.
The Region of the Aegean, identifying the non-existence of licensed diving parks throughout Greece, by the end of 2016, submitted the specific project.
The strategic project aims at developing a network of diving routes in marine areas as a tool for protecting the marine environment, preserving the natural heritage and promoting the cultural heritage, raising awareness of the marine environment and sustainable development tourism, especially diving, enriching and diversifying the provided tourist services.