Project Deepblu dives into adventure travel

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Deepblu CEO James Tsuei “My whole career has always been in tech, but I have always loved the ocean,” sales and marketing professional James Tsuei shared with Travel Daily. As proof, the Taiwan-based veteran of Foxconn, iBase Technology and GiiNii Global has teamed up with local scuba diving and free diving enthusiasts as well as ocean explorers active in the tech industry, like co-founder Brad Chen, to form Deepblu.
The start-up opened Planet Deepblu as part of its long-term plan to unite divers and dive businesses into an interdependent ecosystem. Inspired by Tsuei’s own frustration to plan a Bali dive holiday, a process of back-and-forth email correspondence that ran a full month with neither a flight or a hotel in sight, it has cut the time spent by divers planning and booking their experiences to three business days (“But it’s usually done within the hour,” he added).
Planet Deepblu is a global marketplace that allows the start-up’s community of more than 40,000 divers to coordinate with its network of more than 500 dive shops. A diver first enters the site or logs into the app to shop for their preferred dive site, itinerary or business. Once they find it, they may choose to either book the trip straight up, or directly approach the dive operator through a messaging chat that’s familiar to users of the alternative accommodations unicorn.
“Dive travel is a slow-moving industry… not like the hotel industry where you have a fixed amount of inventory”
More than 10,000 dive spots across the globe are currently featured on the platform, with new ones being added. The most popular sites are in Asia Pacific and Central America. All sorts of adventures can be seen and had: day trips, night trips, wreck exploration, cave dives, marine park tours, immersions with nature, conservation programmes, underwater museums with life-size cement sculptures, underwater photography, island tours, and dive-hopping through multiple sites in a day.
Some dive holiday packages come with hotel accommodations attached, while others are open for those who would rather snorkel. Operators hosted on the Taiwan-based, internationally-run aggregated sales channel also offer lessons, coaching sessions and practise dives for beginners and inexperienced divers. Enthusiasts with a little more mastery, if not confidence, can avail of certification dives.
Planet Deepblu’s interface Planet Deepblu synchronises with the dive computer COSMIQ+, launched in 2016 as part of the start-up’s first phase to compile a centralised and more permanent dive database online. Using COSMIQ+’s electronic watch and app, the platform allows divers to share their experiences and feedback online in real-time through integrated dive log cloud syncing and social sharing – aligning with Tsuei’s goal of turning it into the ‘Airbnb and Facebook’ of the global diving community.
Planet Deepblu allows divers to arrange their own dream dive without need of third-party travel agents. Relevant businesses are added to the marketplace based on their ability to follow through with their offers and take care of their customers. Private guides, instructors, safety kits and oxygen are prerequisites. Transfers and snacks are also part of the arrangement, while meals are provided depending on the length of time divers spend outside of their hotel.
Wading the ‘Blue Ocean’ of travel marketing Tsuei’s seemingly easygoing way of describing Planet Deepblu to a non-diver like this writer both belies and compliments a passion for attracting a new generation to engage in water-based adventure travel. After stumbling into scuba diving on a 2008 trip to the Maldives and also after the Bali trip planning experience, the self-professed ‘serial businessman’ took it upon himself to channel everything that he learned first-hand about dive travel into a more organised resource.
“The dive travel industry, unlike the hotel industry, is a slow-growing industry based on many fluid, dynamic elements,” he explained. “Here, inventory is affected by the seasons, the weather, the rise and flow of the tides, the accessibility of the dive site, and the availability of instructors or guides.
Related Posts “More than big diving companies, it is run by many mom-and-pop businesses with minimal or zero online presence, much less marketing savvy. Planet Deepblu brings all these small operators, with their one-of-a-kind itineraries and knowledge of dive locations, together into a global marketplace.”
Tsuei as ambassador of Deepblu Tsuei shared that the response to Planet Deepblu has been “phenomenal” months after its formal launch early this year. He said, “As customers, diving enthusiasts like how this platform allows them to speak directly with actual dive experience organisers. By allowing for direct interaction instead of going through a third party, transactions between buyers and sellers are resolved within three working days at low cost.”
“A community of divers mostly at the ‘starting age’ of 35 to 45 years old”
The platform has also grown popular with dive operators, Tsuei added. “Dive businesses see (Planet Deepblu) as a completely new and easy way to reach out and communicate market that they never really accounted for. It helps that, unlike other new sites trying to do the same thing, we already have an existing community of divers mostly at the ‘starting age’ of 35 to 45 years old, given that most Western divers fall between 55 and 65 years old.”
Tsuei and his team are still on the lookout for the next big innovation – case in point, he co-founded the Bitcoin mining start-up BitCrane Technologies. But with their collective passion to revolutionise scuba diving as a lifestyle and their ability to harness existing skills, technology and experiences towards this end, the team has garnered support from both divers across the globe and Hongkong-based venture capital firm Silverlink Capital.
It’s not just Asia that’s looking to sink into Planet Deepblu’s disruptive action. Queensland in Australia recently allowed them to set up a base of operations in its dive spot, Cairns. This has given Deepblu entry into the competitive The Hot DesQ programme, where it was one of 25 entrepreneurs worldwide that managed to inject new ideas, skills and talent into the state in exchange for network expansion, global market access, and a grant of AUD100,000.
Plans for the future So what’s next for the upstart company? Of course, it’s planning to scale up; Tsuei is contemplating setting a commission scheme in place that will still allow Planet Deepblu to pass savings on to its users. The site has also recently opened an online magazine to better promote its hosted dive spots.
The start-up has also landed a partnership with the Diving and Resort Travel Expo or DRT, considered the largest dive-related expo in Asia.
Supported by globally recognised dive organisations, dive and water sport equipment manufacturers, dive resorts, tourism boards, travel agencies, marine conservation, dive operators, commercial diving companies, underwater photographers and videographers, this opens up Deepblu’s horizon to more than 90,000 registered members, underwater and adventure sport enthusiasts as well as the general public.
Of course, you can bet Tsuei will continue to make use of his downtime inviting dive operators to join the Deepblu ecospace while exploring and enjoying the deep blue in ‘some island destination’ out in the world.

This new booking platform allows you to create your Malaysian adventure

Posted by - December 12, 2017

BOOKING a trip can be exciting yet daunting. Wanting to experience the cultures, learn about history from people who lived it and explore the unique traditions that make a destination special, are all things many travelers want to experience. But there is a fine balance between booking too many activities and not booking enough, which can leave you vulnerable to missing out altogether.
But fret not, as Malaysian travel start-up Adventoro has unveiled a new adventure-based travel platform which allows travelers anywhere in the world to discover and book adventure-based tours and activities in Malaysia at the click of a button – on the day or way in advance.
The platform works for travelers and Malaysian residents alike. “As a Malaysian I was pleasantly surprised to discover all these places. I got to learn more about my own country,” Michelle Lee, a recent customer said on the website.
#ADVENTURE TOURISM
Climb, surf and dive in Asia’s capital of adventure tourism The platform currently offers more than 400 tours and activities in regions across Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi Island, Sabah and Sarawak, with plans to expand locations and activities early in 2018.
A mobile-friendly web platform, Adventoro features six categories of tours and activities: island, river and watersports; wildlife and jungle; culinary and gastronomy; caving and hiking; cultural and traditional; and sightseeing and attractions.
“Langkawi, a cornucopia of gustatory delights with free-flowing cocktails; fringed by primitive rainforests given life by silvery streams that are teeming with wildlife…”
Read more about Langkawi at https://t.co/7UbRWpOUMy pic.twitter.com/6hwqbfntSV
— Adventoro (@Adventoro_MY) November 24, 2017
“We are very excited about the official launch of Adventoro. We want to make it easy for users to find and purchase desired tours and activities online using just a single platform,” Ken Lau, founder and CEO of Adventoro said in a statement.
“Aside from Malaysia, people from America, Australia, Brazil, France, United Kingdom or from anywhere can hop on Adventoro.com at any time to look for a new adventure they would like to experience.”
A post shared by Malaysia Truly Asia (@malaysia.truly.asia) on Sep 10, 2017 at 9:44am PDT
The platform makes sure solo travelers are included in trips and are not penalized for not being in a group. Similarly, groups are also accommodated for and even entire companies can book trips for their employees.
“We curate our listings and handpick tours and activities that fit into our niche of adventure. We are working to get our listings to be more than 500 in total for Malaysia by end of this year,” said Lau.
#MALAYSIA
Malaysia is recognized as one of the top destinations for expats Adventoro puts an immense about of passion into creating adventures for travelers, such as caving, white water rafting, waterfall abseiling and jungle runs to name a few. But an enormous amount of emphasis is also put on the rich cultural aspects of the country through rainforest tours and creative workshops. You can also mingle with cheeky orangutans at a rehabilitation center and observe the way native tribal people live surrounded by rivers and forest.
A post shared by Yehchee Chalmers (@yehcheechalmers) on Nov 23, 2014 at 2:34am PST
“We aspire to grow Adventoro to become a leading go-to platform for adventure-based tours and activities in the diverse beautiful region of Southeast Asia. We start off with Malaysia and soon we want to bring on tours and activities around the region,” added Lau.
The post This new booking platform allows you to create your Malaysian adventure appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Climb, surf and dive in Asia’s capital of adventure tourism

Posted by - December 12, 2017

SRI LANKA picked up the award for Asia’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards this year, and it is little wonder why.
The island is a microcosm of varying climates and geography that offers visitors a chance to explore the highest regions at the top of its mountains, all the way down to the deepest depths of the warm Indian Ocean.
Here are a few adventures you can have in Sri Lanka.
#ADVENTURE
The tourist dollar could keep Sri Lanka afloat after devastating floods Adventures under the waves A post shared by Sri Lanka Diving Tours (@sri_lanka_diving_tours_) on Apr 23, 2016 at 6:00pm PDT
The island is known for its incredible surfing conditions as well as scuba diving and snorkeling. As other oceans witness their coral reefs dying because of human interference, Sri Lanka still has sea beds full of coral gardens, home to curiously colorful fish, accompanied by ancient shipwrecks once crewed by treasure hunters and fishermen. The Indian Ocean surrounding Sri Lanka is one of the richest and most intriguing diving spots in the world.
A post shared by Bhushan Bagadia (@bhushanbagadiapositives) on Feb 17, 2016 at 4:18am PST
The swell above the water has intrigued surfers for the last 25 years with many surf competitions being held around the island throughout the year. Whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing have all recently gained popularity on the island, with many tour operators running tried and tested as well as bespoke on-the-water tours.
A post shared by Surf School Sri Lanka (@surfschoolsrilanka) on Dec 11, 2017 at 2:36am PST
Creating memories for curious animal lovers A post shared by (@bubblebaths_) on Jan 3, 2017 at 6:02pm PST
Sri Lanka boasts one of the world’s most diverse and healthiest ecosystems, including both animals and plants, the island has one of the highest rates of biological endemism. With 91 species of mammals including Sri Lanka Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards, sambar and wild buffaloes, the island attracts those with a curiosity for wildlife.
A post shared by Sara|PersonalTrainer|Traveller (@travelinmytravels) on Dec 2, 2017 at 8:14pm PST
The country offers a plethora of safari tours, with the chance to see leopards, elephants, rare red slender Loris, even rare Toque Macaque, over 400 species of birds and one of the world’s richest diversities of amphibians.
Hiking and trekking A post shared by Masako︎Chad︎traveland (@mktraveland) on Sep 27, 2017 at 7:08am PDT
When you need a break from soaking up the glorious sunshine on the golden beaches down at sea level, why not trek up to the island’s breath-taking mountains. Sri Lanka is home to miles of misty green landscapes, filled with green tea bushes, orchids, dazzling waterfalls and small mountain villages.
Yala National Park is one of the best-loved forests on the island. Explorers can walk the footsteps of prowling leopards and watch over the treetops where the birds can be found whistling. Throughout the lush forests lay ruins of forgotten temples, just waiting to be discovered.
Got a head for heights? A post shared by Dhammika Mahendra (@dhamz.89) on Jul 2, 2017 at 4:40am PDT
The vertical summits of Sri Lanka’s mountain range include Knuckles Range, Ella Range, Habarana, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Horton Plains and Buttala, all of which provide amateur and experienced climbers with an exciting challenge. As you climb with an expert instructor you can look down (if you dare) to see the emerald treetops bustling with busy wildlife activity.
A post shared by SummitMadness (@summitmadness) on Mar 12, 2017 at 8:30pm PDT
If you’re looking for something a little less taxing but you still want to get up in the skies, take a hot air balloon tour. The balloon drifts silently above the forest, with the occasional burst of gas causing grazing wildlife below to spirt off to safety. This is an excellently relaxing, yet adventurous way to see a huge scope of Sri Lanka’s hidden treasures.
Explore the wilderness in Sri Lanka and create adventerous memories that will be hard to top.
The post Climb, surf and dive in Asia’s capital of adventure tourism appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Hello Kitty is educating travelers on responsible tourism

Posted by - December 6, 2017

SUSTAINABLE tourism has entered the travel spotlight, with people becoming more aware of its significance. To illustrate the point, the United Nations has issued Hello Kitty as the ‘special ambassador’ to promote sustainable tourism development.
The cute feline character has been best friends with girls and boys the world over since the 1970s. Due to the character’s harmless and inoffensive demeanor, and her international appeal to a wide demographic, she is the ideal candidate to educate travelers about responsible tourism.
A post shared by Hello Kitty (@hellokitty) on Nov 23, 2017 at 9:46am PST
2017 was named the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development’ by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The year has been spent promoting responsible tourism by the organization, and part of this campaign is the ‘Travel. Enjoy. Respect.’ aspect.
The loveable and hugely recognized Japanese character isn’t a cat at all, simply a young girl. But regardless of whether you see her as a furry feline or girly-girl, she will hopefully have an impact on the way people travel, where they go and how they do it.

“Traveling opens our minds and our hearts, and lets us see how we are equal,” said Hello Kitty in a video inviting people to take part in the campaign. “Travelling is a gift. When you travel, remember to honor our place. Respect nature, respect the culture and respect your host.”
In recent years, adventure tourism and fan tourism have increased massively. Places such as Northern Ireland and Croatia in Europe have seen an increase in tourism as fans of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones want to explore the incredible settings in which that the program is filmed.
Similarly, Thailand is facing struggles with over-adventure tourism in the protected forests of Chiang Mai. The region has 11 zipline operators, costing up to US$100 per go, which means profit for the companies, but this level of tourism ultimately has a detrimental impact on the forest.
#MELBOURNE
Melbourne is Asia Pacific’s most sustainable city… for business The Hello Kitty campaign aims to tackle this worsening situation, because, after all, education is key to understanding how to be a responsible tourist.
The video is currently being broadcast at Narita International Airport in Japan and will also be published across the UN’s social media channels.
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Antarctic adventures are becoming popular among China’s affluent

Posted by - December 1, 2017

AN estimated 550 million Chinese citizens are predicated to fit into the upper-middle class category by 2022, meaning 54 percent of China’s urban households will be earning between US$16,000 and $34,000 per year. This will ultimately push the consumer economy to increase to an estimated $6.5 trillion.
But as the middle class grows in China, those who are already considered affluent are looking for more exciting ways to spend their income. One of the more adventurous ways of splashing their cash is by traveling to the North and South Poles.
While warm climates and iconic cities still feature high on the list of popular destinations for Chinese tourists, the Poles set a whole new precedent for affluent travelers, who are looking for adventure with an added dose of luxury.
#SURPRISE TRAVEL
‘Surprise travel’: The travel trend all adventurers need in their lives “I like to travel to places where there aren’t many tourists,” Gemmy Zang, a freelance graphic designer who went a 2014 Antarctic cruise, told the Financial Times. “I expected it would be tough, but it wasn’t at all.”
This year, China preceded Australia as the second largest source of travelers to Antarctica. According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, Chinese travelers accounted for 12 percent of the 46,000 total visitors to the continent.
Many of the affluent Chinese travelers who are visiting the plains of Antarctica have already traveled to previously appealing cities like Paris, London and Rome.
“It’s no longer enough to go to the Eiffel Tower again. There’s not much to say about it the second time” Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of Hurun Report, told the Financial Times.
The best time to visit the South Pole is between December and February, when it is summer. Many Chinese tourists are aware of this and have booked to travel there in February 2018 to participate in the Spring Festival holiday.
#WINTER TRAVEL
This Japanese city is the perfect place for a winter getaway Plenty of travel companies are getting on board with this new Antarctic hype too.
Ctrip, the China-based, one-stop, multilingual, hassle-free travel agency has set up around 100 new South Pole focused itineraries, including direct flights, concerts, luxury cruises and even the option to charter your own boat out to the southernmost point on the globe.
Although these trips aren’t cheap, with an average South Pole visit coming in at around $16,000 per person, it is pretty unique to be able to say you’ve walked around the world in a few steps – which is essentially possible at the Poles.
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