Recreational diving is an expanding branch of ecotourism that when poorly managed, may cause considerable impacts to benthic organisms. Such impacts become a matter of concern in popular diving destinations. A systematic literature review was used to verify the characteristics of divers who cause damage to reefs, the effects on benthic organisms, and the range of management interventions available. We describe the knowledge gaps, addressed challenges and propose solutions hoping to reach successful management of diving tourism industry. We identified three main challenges on recreational diving management frameworks and discussed actions to overcome such challenges. The challenges are related to (1) the lack of baseline data and long-term monitoring; (2) integration of scientific research and management; and (3) adaptive management strategies and stakeholder involvement.