Marianna 11/11/2011 -- This is Hong Kong resident Gallup Lee's first trip to Blue Springs Recreational Area in Jackson County.
"All I can say is it's wonderful," said Lee.
He and nearly 50 other divers from China, South, Korea, Brazil, and Finland were there Thursday to get a chance at one of the best underwater caves in the world.
Sung Nakhoon from South Korea made the trip to get what's called side-mount training.
"I love coming here because the caves offer something special and dynamic," said Nakhoon.
Blue Springs hasn't always been the "go-to" destination. Cave Adventures Instructor Edd Sorenson said for many years people just didn't know about it.
"Very few cave divers actually stopped in here," said Sorenson.
But he said word travels fast and nowadays it's a completely different story.
"It's just becoming more and more popular all the time," said Sorenson.
Last year alone, more than two thousand divers traveled to Blue Springs, pumping thousands of dollars into the local economy.
"For Jackson County that's a big deal," said Jackson County Chamber of
Commerce President Art Kimbrough.
Blue Springs Officials said traffic was way up especially in the last month. They credited last week's international diving trade show in Orlando for the additional exposure.
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