Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Crowdfunding The World's First Underwater Hotel

The subtropical coral cay archipelago that are the Florida Keys, home to some of the world's wondrous marine life, could the site for the first ever underwater hotel. Tony Webb, managing director of Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a prototype for the first ever luxury underwater hotel that would herald a new era in ecotourism and support marine restoration and conservation. Through the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo Planet Ocean is looking to raise $325,000 within 60 days offering in return a variety of rewards which include a free/discounted stay in the hotel itself.

Planet Ocean, based in Key West Florida, could be at the forefront of revolutionary tourism (second only to Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space travels) with the creation of the world's first underwater hotel. It has been billed as an affordable luxury hotel with the purpose of providing guests with a unique underwater experience. The hotel, once built, will initially consist of 12 guest rooms, a luxury lounge and dining area that will provide breathtaking panoramic views of marine life. The room rates will vary from $1,500 per night for weekdays, to $3,000 for weekend stays. Planet Ocean however dreams to be more than just a profit making luxury hotelier, and will be supporting global marine conservation and restoration efforts.

After carefully reviewing all the efforts of various marine conservation groups, Tony Webb and the management team of Planet Ocean selected and entered into partnership with the Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA). This US based non-profit group provides funds for the efforts of marine ecologists and environmental groups to protect and sustain the management of coral reefs. GCRA has recorded mass devastation of coral reefs due to numerous natural and man made activities, and their deterioration is thought to be the first casualty of global warming. Their work has helped bring the plight of endangered coral reef to the global public attention and even brought about legislative changes to combat the problem. Planet Ocean will work with GCRA to continue supporting these efforts through funding to develop and implement viable solutions and resources to continue the fight for the protection of coral reef vital to the sustenance of marine life.

The funds raised by Planet Ocean through the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo will pay for the construction of a prototype cylindrical capsule made from steel and thick layered acrylic. Housed in a testing facility in Orlando, Florida the capsule will undergo every type of rigorous structural and durability tests. The capsule will also be used to test an assortment of supporting equipment. The results could then lead to a second round funding initiative. Planet Ocean will offer donors who support the crowdfunding campaign a variety of rewards including limited merchandise, acknowledgements, free tours of the new hotel once it is built as well as discounted or even a free overnight stay in one of the luxury rooms. For more information and make a donation visit the project's IndieGoGo page.

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