A three-year initiative is being introduced by Tui to help protect coral reefs in the Dominican Republic.

A partnership between the Tui Care Foundation and UK marine consevation charity The Reef-World Foundation will encourage protection of the sensitive ecosystems.

More than 300 people from local reef-based businesses will receive specialised training on how to work more sustainably.

Around 65,000 tourists will receive information on coral reef protection and 2,000 members of the community will also learn about reef protection through the environmental activities of youth ambassadors.

Guidelines to promote sustainable diving and snorkelling are being introduced to help reduce deterioration of the coral reef and build its resilience.

The action is part of an international Tui junior academy scheme to provide marine environmental education courses to youth ambassadors. They can then champion coral reef conservation and lead activities in their local communities.

Tui Care Foundation board of trustees chairman Thomas Ellerbeck said: “The Dominican Republic is surrounded by extraordinary coral reefs which constitute a key component of the island’s unique natural heritage and biodiversity.

“Local economic activities, such as fishing, and marine life in general, rely on strong, healthy reefs.

“We are very excited to be launching this new project with Reef-World that brings the local community together and puts education at the very centre of future environmentally sustainable solutions.”

The Reef-World Foundation director JJ Harvey added: “As well as being a precious natural ecosystem, the Dominican Republic’s coral reefs provide food and livelihoods for many people in the country and so represent a valuable financial asset worth protecting.

“By building the capacity of the marine tourism industry to follow best environmental practice, our youth ambassador coral reef conservation programme will engage over 1,000 teenagers across 15 schools with the ripple effect reaching approximately 1,800 community members and over 2,000 family members.”