Underwater tourism is opening the ocean up to travellers in a way that has never been done before Image Credit: Pexels/Miles Hardacre

Trade in your protective mask for scuba gear, and your sanitiser for the salty sea. Underwater travel is the future of tourism!

Click start to play today’s Word Search, where words like “underwater” and “vacation” will get you in the mood to travel.

Water covers 70 per cent of our planet, and according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 80 per cent of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. It makes sense then that travelling its depths and exploring its otherworldly beauty could satisfy our wanderlust just as well as a trip to Florence or Paris.

Underwater tourism is opening the ocean up to travellers in a way that has never been done before. Dubai already has hotel suites that allow people to sleep underwater. The world’s first fully underwater hotel opened in Maldives’ Rangali island in 2018, and the world’s largest underwater restaurant opened in Norway in 2019.

Around the world, there’s also a growing interest in viewing art underwater – the Ngaro Underwater Sculpture Trail in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, for instance, charms scuba diving tourists with its giant marine monuments (like a 19-foot sculpture called ‘Turtle Dream’), while at the same time raising awareness about and money for reef conservation. And the popular Cancun Underwater Museum of Art in Mexico has over 500 life-size sculptures on the ocean floor that are used to promote coral life.

Even the way we travel underwater may soon change. According to a July 2019 report by UK-based news organisation BBC, submersibles are being touted as a safer way to travel – for both people, and fragile coral ecosystems that are often vulnerable to excited vacationers.

These sleek underwater mobiles offer tours along the reefs of some of the world’s most beautiful coastal regions – from Hawaii to Mauritius. They’re environmentally friendly, air-conditioned and allow anyone to experience marine life underwater, with no scuba or swimming experience necessary. With more than 2 million tourists visiting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef every year, it’s being considered as a solid alternative to scuba diving.

With so many options for underwater tourism, and innovative new ways to travel, would you put the vast, mysterious ocean on your travel bucket list?

Play today’s Word Search and let us know at games@gulfnews.com.