Since 1997, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, together with other islands of the Dutch Caribbean, has been the worldwide example for charging an environmental user fee to users of the national “Man of War Shoal” Marine Park. However, the current dive tag system has issues keeping up with the demand. Production costs, administration, risk management, and logistics are becoming more and more costly and time consuming.
To overcome the current issues described above for the “over the counter” divers tag, the payment method and to profit from new trends in how tourists use Internet to plan their vacations, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation has been working with Reef Support BV to develop an online payment system. The Nature Foundation is proudly the first to launch this new online system for their marine park tags.
“The online system will allow visiting divers and other Marine Park users to prepay their tags before arrival to their dive shop. With this system we hope to reduce the efforts of making “over the counter” sales of our Marine Park Diver tags. We expect not only to increase St. Maarten Nature Foundation revenue but also to save much of the valuable time of dive operators, whilst we provide our visitors with a modern, fast, and easy way to pay their tags” says Tadzio Bervoets manager of the Nature Foundation.
“The new system generates a unique tag for each user that is received by the buyer via email. Upon arrival in your dive shop, operators can check for validity through a print version, in the diver phone or by simply login into the system and scanning the QR code of the tag. After an initial marketing effort, dive operators won’t need to sell tags over the counter anymore and it will take only 3 seconds to check validity of customer’s tags” stated Ramón de León Founder and Director of Reef Support.
“The help of the dive operators was instrumental in the past to make our Divers Tag a success, we are asking once again for the assistance of the dive operators to introduce this new system, which can only succeed with their help to spread the link of the payment page. Dive operators are asked to incorporate the link into their websites, bookings systems, and email communications with their customers. As we are trying to reduce our single-use plastics on the island, we are very happy to move to an electronic alternative to substitute the plastic Marine Park Tag”, stated Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.