Dive Centre Tries To Make A Difference

Stepping down the “songthaew” and looking along the street the first thing that comes to mind is a Danish colony. Bars with Danish names on both sides of the street as fare as your eyes can reach. No wonder the street is nicknamed “Soi Denmark”. You may then wonder if Mermaids Dive Centre only is for Danes. But the new owner of Mermaids Dive Centre, Peter Waagensen ensures that the divers are from all over the world.
    It was actually a coincidence that Peter Waagensen took over Mermaids Dive Centre. Established by a Dane in 1982, Ib Ottesen, who has been a partner until now, it later came into the partnership with an American called Stephen Blumenthal. When Peter came to Thailand eight years ago he became friends with Stephen Blumenthal, and with his unexpected death two years ago, Peter jumped at the possibility to take over the company. So now, Peter says, Mermaids Dive Centre is back in Danish hands, which is an idea he is fond of.
    Mermaids Dive Centre is located at Jomtien Beach, Pattaya. The company has specialized in scuba diving internships. Every year around 200 divers comes through Mermaids Dive Centre. Most of the divers stay for at least six months to complete an internship. Mermaids Dive Centre has a private hotel specifically for their scuba divers.
    Mermaids Dive Centre is engaging in the local community. Peter Waagensen has 37 Thai and three foreign employees. “If you take care of your employees they will take care of the business,” says Peter.
    That is why Mermaids Dive Centre among other things offers loans to some of their employees and supports some of their children to get an education. Sheena Walls, the general manager and some of the other managers at Mermaids Dive Centre, are proof of that it does help to take care of the employees, because as Peter says “I would not have the business without them”.
    Mermaids Dive Centre is not only a dive centre but it also helps support the local area at Pattaya. “It is very important to get the locals involved in preserving the marine life” Peter says. That is why he is starting a foundation to help local school children learn about marine life. He calls it a form of “educational cycle”, where they help the children understanding the environment, and with their knowledge they will help preserve the nature and so fourth.
    Peter has not been living in Denmark since the early nineties and does not expect to be moving back. Thailand is his home, home sweet home, and he cannot imagine living anywhere else than here.
    Peter Waagensen does however still love to visit Denmark as a tourist. “The thing I look most forward to is the many new fabulous restaurants situated in Copenhagen. There are always opened new interesting restaurants when I visit Denmark”, he says.
    In every step of Peter’s business he tries to do the best to make a difference. Walking away from Mermaids Dive Centre, Peter Waagensen and the many bars with the Danish flags, he is working focused on his laptop on a new stock system sitting outside his diving centre.

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