Tovatec Increase Production of MERA

Tovatec has introduced the new “MERA™” Dive Light with Built-In Video Camera. This exciting new product was announced just prior to DEMA and began delivery during the week of DEMA . The initial production units sold out immediately, even before the show was over.

Tovatec has increased production of the MERA™ and has been able to ship the backorders that remained from DEMA, but they are expected to sell through very quickly again.

With thousands of MERA™units in the field and under water, Tovatec is pleased to report that they have received many emails, social media posts, and calls reporting that users have been amazed at the ease-of-use and the quality of the videos. Many have even purchased a second or third MERA™to give as gifts!

“The reception from our dealers exceeded our wildest expectations” said Chuck Fultz President of Tovatec “Our dealers have been reporting incredibly fast sell-through, and have been reordering rapidly. Their customers LOVE IT! “

The retail price for the MERA™is astoundingly affordable at only $299.95.

The MERA™ has a patent-pending design with features that include:

  • Rechargeable battery with usb charger included
  • Uses Class 10 Micro SD Card of up to 64gb (sold separately)
  • Matched light beam angle / camera field of view of 120° – this ensures that videos and photos are illuminated
  • One-handed operation
  • 1000 Lumen primary Spot light
  • 2.5 hour burn time on high
    • 6.0 hour burn time on low
  • Additional 1000 Lumen video light
    2.5 hour burn time on high
    • 6.0 hour burn time on low
  • Proprietary 1080p HD Camera
    1.5 hours video with light on
    • 8.0 hours video with light off
    • 10,000+ pictures with light on
  • 3 Buttons allow simple, one-handed operation of both lights and Camera, buttons have a light indicator which indicates function
    Press button to turn light on/off
    Press button to take still photo
    Press button to start or stop video
    Glows blue when camera is turned on
    • Quickly flashes red when picture is taken
    • Slow on/off red glow when recording video

The MERA™is a game changer and perfect for anyone who does not want to carry two items to accomplish the same task when snorkeling or diving!

The MERA™is fully functional on land just in case you see something you never want to forget!

In keeping with Tovatec’s renewed commitment to our planet, the MERA™comes packaged in a reusable custom padded case.

For more information
Contact: Linda Hughes
Innovative Scuba Concepts / Tovatec
Phone: 800-324-5032
Web: www.tovatec.com

Posted in Dive Equipment, Press Release | Leave a comment

Editorial – December 2018

In The Business of Diving – It’s How Well We Do.
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

Before I sat down to write our December Editorial, I took a moment to reread last year’s December Editorial.  In that editorial I praised Dive Industry Professionals who were actively pursuing their love for the recreation and were having a great time doing it.  That topic has been on my mind all year long and it has helped me to enjoy my scuba diving activities that much more.  In life, we can choose to think and act in a positive manner or dwell on the negative aspects of life and criticize others for not living up to our expectations.  I choose to think and act positively.  Karma will take care of those who follow the second option.  Any fool can criticize, and most fools do.   But it takes a special person to see the possibilities of leading a good life that is filled with abundant blessings.

Needles to say, for many in the diving industry, it was a good year this year.  I say many but not all.  What I noticed this year is that, for the most part, there was a certain cause and effect banter going on.  Kind of an action and reaction thing. Dive Shows that spent money on advertising and promoted their local dive communities did well.  Those that didn’t, paid the price of failure and the loss of consumer confidence.  Our Manufacturing friends who just held on to their jobs and didn’t produce are no longer collecting that nice monthly paycheck.   Sales Reps that hit the road to visit their Dealers, sold product and made money.  Those that hid at home, didn’t sell much and many lost their jobs.  Dive Retailers who focused on their customers, made friends, built relationships and had a successful year.  Those who didn’t, didn’t.  In the travel sector of our industry, I participated in two successful FAM Trips, met scores of successful Travel Wholesalers, Dive Travel Specialists, Dive Operators and Dive Resort Destinations who were having a wonderful and successful year.  I couldn’t help but notice the crying and moaning of unsuccessful operators who still don’t understand the concept of customer satisfaction that puts heads on beds and butts on seats. It’s just a matter of time for those types of businesses.  The writing is on the wall.

While many in the industry are in the black this year, unfortunately, many are in various shades of red.  Dive Industry Association had a record year this year, with more current members than we ever had before.  Our renewal rate is over 90%.  We added a large amount of new Members and we even refused membership to a few companies with bad track records.  We increased spending on graphic programs and modern marketing tools while we cut back on wasteful contract spending.  Our whole focus next year will be to promote our for-profit Members who sell dive equipment, training and travel and our non-profit Members who do good work in the industry.

I’ve been preaching the “Work Smart” instead of the “Work Hard” concept for many years.  I have to tell you, based on what I am seeing this year, that most companies in the diving industry are agreeing with us now.  It’s all about having your Marketing people pave the way for sales using sophisticated marketing tools, in a pre-show, at-show and post-show context.  It’s about having your Sales people focus on making the sales calls and closing deals, not wasting their time with home made marketing programs that keep them away from selling.  It’s about Professional Retailers running their business (working on their business) instead of spending time and money on their next level of Instructor certification (working in their business).  It’s about Training Agencies supporting and promoting their Instructor Members so they could teach more entry level scuba programs, instead of running high priced Instructor Course Director Trainer Programs that only directly helps their bottom line.  It’s about the Travel Industry working with Travel Wholesalers and Industry Mavens to run more FAM Trips and Introductory Mini Travel Vacations to attract more high-volume, FAM Ready, Dive Travel Specialists.  And finally, it’s about Dive and Travel Shows helping their Exhibitors attract more qualified buyers to their shows, not just providing a venue.  This year the industry is going to be looking at bankable results.  What are we getting for our money, and why should we spend it with you?  It’s not how many likes you get.  It’s about how many convert to sales.  It’s not about exhibiting at dive shows and just being there.  It’s about your return on investment that matters.  It’s about having a reason to exhibit and a plan that includes pre-show, at-show and post-show components to it.  This year is going to be about thinking up new and better ways to make your business more dynamic and productive and less doing things the old ways you’ve always done them.

Most Entrepreneurs traditionally work in their business, instead of on their business.  If you are a single Owner-Operator, all hope is not lost.  Dive Industry Association is in the business of helping their Members work on their businesses.  That is what we do and we do it well.   If you are the only one responsible for doing the things that bring in the revenue, let us help you make your business more professional, more productive, more profitable, and more FUN.  Working in the diving industry is an exciting way to make a living, but you have to stay in business to continue to Live the Dream.

On behalf of our Current Members, Sponsors, Donors and Staff, we wish you a Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  We’ll see you at the Shows or on the Dive Boats next year.

 

 

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iBubble Hiring Sales Representative Americas

Sales Representative Americas
based in Florida

Our company:

The company has developed the first autonomous underwater drone that follows divers and captures beautiful footage, hands-free. The company is currently launching large-scale production of the drone and is seeking to develop their sales in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Job summary:

We are on the lookout for talented, goal-oriented sales representatives that have a passion for helping their clients succeed. You’ll work with dealers and clients in the Scuba Diving, Resort and Yachting industries and you’ll be getting potential clients excited about the products that we offer.

We’re looking for a professional who can quickly absorb and retain product knowledge and do product demonstrations. If you love a challenge and have a working knowledge of tech products and the scuba diving/yachting industry, we can’t wait to see your resume.

Requirements:

• Experience in sales in the scuba diving and/or yachting industry
• A minimum of 3-5 years’ experience in sales in large scale (and not only from a shop) related to the industry, such selling diving equipment from the manufacturer, luxury water toys, submarine photography equipment, etc.
• Experienced scuba diver capable of carrying out underwater demonstrations of the product: must have certification such as PADI rescue diver or PADI dive master
• Comfortable working from home with remote management

Responsibilities:

• Present, promote and sell products to existing and prospective customers.
• Focus sales efforts by studying existing and potential volume of dealers
• Reach out to customer leads through cold calling
• Organize the functional and technical demonstrations of the drone
• Achieve agreed upon sales targets and outcomes within schedule

Salary:

• 90k/year: 65% fixed, 35% commission + heath insurance and 401K
• Apply by sending your most updated resume
Job Type: Full-time

Salary: $90,000.00 /year

To apply, send your resume to
gilles.bonkoski@france-sandiego.org or Nicolas.menier@france-sandiego.org

Posted in Job Opportunities | Leave a comment

DIA Moves Website to WordPress

DIA Moves Website to WordPress Hosting 
https://diveindustrynews.net

by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
 Websites are an important part of any company’s marketing strategy.  They are a Business Person’s link with Current Customers, Former Customers, Future Customers and the general public. Finding the right web designer who understands websites, graphics, the internet and the diving industry is a major challenge for many dive industry professionals and their companies. The Dive Industry Association is no exception.
Over the years, our main trade website, diveindustry.net has grown old and stale.  We wanted a new website that reflected our association’s mission, vision and growth.  On July 28, 2013 we created a website using WordPress software and WordPress Hosing Services.  Our new Blog Website quickly became our main web site at https://diveindustrynews.net  Hoping to keep our old website current, we updated the Directory and Shows and Events Pages faithfully, but after 5 years at WordPress with 338 Blog Posts behind us, there was no comparison to WordPress.  After seeing the progress we have made in the past few years, we recently decided to scrap our old website and move our domain name over to WordPress.   We have stopped hosting www.diveindustry.net  until a new web site can be created and hosted at WordPress.
In the meantime, if you have been going to our old website for the past few years, we apologize.  Please have a look at our https://diveindustrynews.net Blog/Website to see how active the Association has become.    If you haven’t been to our WordPress Site lately, you might not recognize us now.  DIA had definitely grown in the past 5 years.
You can subscribe to our WordPress Blog-Website for free.  Our Monthly Editorials, Product Reviews and Dive Destination Profiles will keep you current with what we are doing and you’ll be among the first to know if and when we create a new web site.   Our 3 Dive Directories and our Shows & Events Pages are current and read by Dive Industry Professionals Worldwide.
Look for more exciting developments at Dive Industry Association by visiting https://diveindustrynews.net
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Dive Industry Foundation Exhibits at DEMA 2018

Dive Industry Foundation
Non-profit 501(c)(3)
DEMA Show – Las Vegas
DEMA Show Booth 2620
November 14-17, 2018

Please stop by our Booth 2620 at the DEMA Show.  Our talking points this year are all about our 12-step Business Improvement Program.  Let us help you Start, Operate and Grow your dive business successfully.

Here is what you will see at our booth.

  • 12-Step Business Improvement Program
    • FREE Blog Subscription
    • FREE Dive Industry Weekly Dive News Subscription
    • FREE The Dive Industry Professional Monthly Subscription
    • Retail & Sales Rep Survey Forms
    • Information on DIVE LOCAL Campaign
    • How to get involved in Industry Networks
    • How to Submit FREE Press Releases
    • How to submit articles for publication
    • Making Donations to Dive Industry Foundation
    • Volunteering with Non-Profits
    • How to join Specialty Advisory Groups
    • How to Participate in on-Line Webinars
  • Free Business Consulting
  • Industry Trade Directory / Buyers Guide
  • Retail Dive Center Survey
  • Manufacturing Sales Rep Survey
  • Business Course – Hypergrow Your Business
  • New Book – The TriStart Matrix: Available for $20 Donation
  • New Book – Hire Your First Employee by Rhonda Abrams
  • Book – Blackbeard by Margaret Hoffman: Available for $20 Donation
  • Dive Industry Foundation – Business Consultancy Services
  • Free Marketing Tips on using Social Media, Press Releases & Trade Shows
  • JOIN “Friends of the Industry” for $25 Donation

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Foundation
email: gene@diveindustry.org
Cell:  832-247-5315

Posted in Press Release, Shows & Events | Leave a comment

Tovatec Introduces The Tovatec MERA

Dive Light & Camera Integration – The Tovatec MERA™

At DEMA next week, Tovatec will showcase the world’s first dive light that integrates a high-definition camera.  The MERA™ features a 1000 lumen spot light, a 1000 lumen video light and a proprietary high-definition camera. The video light and the camera are designed to have the same field of view.  Therefore, whatever is illuminated by the light is also captured by the camera.  The light takes both still pictures and high-definition video.  It can also be used as a primary dive light with the camera off.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6oRuCCh3Go

The feedback received thus far has been overwhelming. Testers have found the convenience of a single primary light, which they already need, coupled with an easy-to-use camera to be superior to a camera plus housing plus tray plus arm(s) plus video light(s).  Instructors that have tested the MERA™ have also commented that students, faced with a confusing array of gear and accessories, desired to simply buy this as their first primary light. In short, Tovatec believes the MERA™ will change the way people use their lights and cameras under water.

Please see Tovatec at booth #1259.

For more information, Contact:

Chuck Fultz, Tovatec
email: chuck@innovativescuba.com
Web:  www.tovatec.com

Posted in Dive Equipment, Press Release | Leave a comment

Editorial – November 2018

The Industry Is What It Is
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

I’ve always seen the dive industry for what it is.  That is, what it is, according to Gene Muchanski.  How about you?  As a Diver, I didn’t really think about “the industry” per say.  I went scuba diving with my High School friends on the weekends and we had fun.  When it came time to serve my country, for me, becoming a Navy Scuba Diver on Submarines was exciting, fun and yes, cool!  Up until that time, if the water was deeper than knee high, I dove in it.  If I didn’t have a buddy to go with, I taught one.  It wasn’t until I applied to Fred Calhoun’s NAUI Instructor’s Certification Course (ICC) did I even think about diving as an industry or my future involvement in the Business of Diving.  With the help of Fred’s guidance and the encouragement of NAUI Instructors from the Northeast Branch, I developed a love for teaching scuba diving, going to Dive Shows and Film Reviews, and for the business side of this great recreation.  In just a few years, I left active duty to pursue a Marketing Degree from the University of Connecticut, where I taught scuba diving, headed up a 200 member scuba club, directed the Connecticut Underwater Symposium & Film Review, directed an Instructor Certification Course, and went diving just about every weekend.  I transferred to the U.S. Naval Reserves, completed Hard Hat and Mixed Gas Hard Hat Training, got qualified as a Diving Supervisor and Navy Diving Instructor and had the time of my life diving with my Navy Dive Buddies throughout my years as an undergrad.

I tell you all this because seeing the world through my own limited perspective is not unique to just me.  I am pretty sure that everyone in the diving industry has had, or is having, the same exact experience.  Different view points, based on different perspectives, that are based on the environment, education, and experience of the individual.  So the industry is what it is, and it all depends on what your definition of is, is.

In my high school, military, and college years, I was an active diver and an Independent Instructor.  I hung around with the same type of Divers and Instructors and developed opinions and habits based on my environment, education and experience.  It’s no wonder I never went to the DEMA Show when it first came to Miami.  I never hear about it and neither did anyone I knew.  I wasn’t a vendor who exhibited at shows and I didn’t have a dive store that would likely go to DEMA to buy inventory.  Beneath the Sea also began around that time.  Never heard about it.  Maybe because I wasn’t on anyone’s Exhibitor List or Speakers’ list.  Or maybe, BTS didn’t have a good mailing list of certified divers and Instructors.  Why didn’t I know about the Boston Sea Rovers?  I was probably too busy diving more than most people in New England, with my own boat, the Navy Reserves and the UCONN Scuba Club, or just maybe the Sea Rovers didn’t have a mailing list of active divers in New England.  Honestly, to be fair with DEMA, Beneath the Sea and the Boston Sea Rovers – They probably never heard of the UCONN Scuba Club either.  Forty years later I see it all for what it is – many small, individual groups, preaching to their own choir of like-minded individuals.  A fragmented industry that has limited ability or desire to cross-market their recreation to other groups.  We hang around people who are like us and we preach, boy do we preach, to our own choir.

My world-view of the diving industry expanded rapidly when I graduated from college and accepted a job at NAUI Headquarters as their very first Marketing Director.  What got me in the door was my 7 years experience as a NAUI Instructor and Course Director.  I’d have to be honest and say that having a degree in Marketing was appreciated by many but not all of the membership.  Some thought that having a business professional at HQ was the best thing to happen to NAUI in its 21 year history, but there were those who were opposed to bringing business expertise into a diving company.  I was fortunate to be able to reach out to the Leaders at NAUI, PADI, LA COUNTY and NASDS to compare notes and discuss current training standards and business philosophy.  At NAUI I was able to work with Instructors from all backgrounds of teaching, especially the Instructors affiliated with University Programs, Retail Dive Centers and Resort Destinations.  Irregardless, the time I spent at NAUI HQ opened my eyes to the loyalty and persuasive power that certification agencies have on the diving industry.  The Certification Agencies, Retail Dive Centers, and the Resort Diving Operations  all seemed to have different definitions of what the industry is, or should I say, what it is to them.

I got very close to the Retail Sector of the Diving Industry when I helped create the Association of Diving Retailers and then went on to owning a dive store.  For the first time since becoming an Instructor, I saw a complex social and business interaction between the Retail Dive Centers, the Independent Instructors and the Certification Agencies.  Again, my world-view of the diving industry was stretched, if not exploded.  During my ten years as a Retail Dive Store employee, manager and owner, I experienced first hand, the challenges, setbacks and channel friction of the supply side of our industry.  My industry world-view now included the fact that Retailers, Reps and Instructors are the hardest working, yet most under-valued and under-recognized industry professionals in our community.

My world-view of What the industry is came almost full circle when I spent eight years in the manufacturing sector of the industry.  I now had a managerial perspective of the various relationships between Original Equipment Manufacturers vs Brand Marketers & Distributors, Manufacturers vs Sales Reps, Sales Reps vs Retail Dive Centers, Retail Dive Centers vs Instructors, and Instructors vs their Students.  Believe it or not, this is not where channel friction comes into play.  It’s not where industry fragmentation comes in either.  All of these groups share a common Channel of Distribution.  All of these groups can, and should work together.  They may have different goals and motives, but they are all moving programs, products and services through the pipeline from product conception to consumption, and without them, there would be no industry.

The last twenty years of my career has been spent in the Association, Media, Consulting, and Travel sectors of the industry.  I believe that I now have a balanced world-view of the diving industry, and I am reasonably sure that I can see the individual components of the industry for what they are and what they mean for the different stakeholders.  I can still honestly say that The Industry is what it is, but it still depends on what your definition of is, is.  It could be a common or collective “is” but it isn’t.  The industry is not there yet and it is questionable if it ever will.  What has changed in the 21st Century is that we are working with dive businesses who are serious about the Business of Diving.  Our definition of the Business of Diving is for dive companies to manufacturer, sell and resell the best products, competitively priced, and readily available, to the best customers possible, who need, want and can afford your products.  We expect them to be professional, productive and profitable in the way they do business and by using 21st Century marketing tools and technologies to get their message to their prospective customers.  They must be honest and ethical and professional. They have to realize that while we are producing the best diving equipment, dive training and dive travel experiences for the world, we are serving Divers who may think of diving as a recreation, a hobby, a collateral duty, a job, a profession or a career.  Not only is the world-view of the diving industry different for different industry professionals, it is different and unique to our very diversified customer base.  So our mission to Build a Better Industry should not only  include learning about and defining the Supply Side of our Business, it needs to include defining and understanding our customers who make up the Demand Side of our Industry equation.

What we are learning from our DIVE LOCAL campaign is that local diving communities are the heartbeat of the world-wide industry.  Each local diving community is made up of Retail Dive Centers, Dive Operators, Dive Clubs and Instructors who are our front line Ambassadors of the Industry.  They are the Industry Professionals who are working daily in the diving business on a full time or part time basis.  We know that the Local Diving Community has to focus on teaching people how to dive, selling them diving equipment, taking them diving and keeping them active in the recreation.  Therefore, the Business of Diving is all about selling Diving Equipment, Training and Travel.

The Business of Diving must be looked upon as a very positive factor in our industry.  The certification agencies certify their Instructors and keep them current through program updates and refreshers.  The Trade Associations need to do the same thing when it comes to business subjects and business tools.  We promote professional businesses and industry professionals who want to be professional, productive and profitable.  We want them to use current, 21st century marketing tools and technologies to be able to successfully start, grow, and succeed in their respective businesses.  We want them to be professional, ethical, and honest in their dealings with their suppliers, employees and customers.  We want them to subscribe to a Professional Code of Conduct that identifies them as a Diving Business Professional.  We want to acknowledge them for the part they play in our local and world-wide communities as a Diving Business Professional.  We want them to be as successful as they have the potential to be and we want them to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and enjoy this great recreation.

The Dive Industry Foundation is dedicated to Promoting Economic Development in Watersports.  Our Mission is to bring Buyers and Sellers together and grow this industry.  We are serious about The Business of Diving and the important part it plays.  The Foundation was set up as a Non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt, Educational and Charitable Organization.  Donations are tax deductible and welcomed to help us achieve our mission.  The Dive Industry Foundation has a booth at the DEMA Show this November 14-17, in Las Vegas.   Stop by our Booth # 2620 and drop off your Business Card.  Let’s have a discussion about growing the diving industry and your participation in it.

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski,  Executive Director
Dive Industry Foundation
Phone: 321-914-3778
Cell: 832-247-5315
e-mail: gene@diveindustry.org

Posted in Business Improvement, Editorials | Leave a comment

Eden Beach Resort Bonaire & Wannadive Team Up With CRF

Wannadive Joins Efforts with Coral Restoration Foundation

Located at Eden Beach Resort Bonaire, Wannadive has joined efforts with The Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF). Officially becoming the 3rd dive shop on Bonaire to make a difference in the future of our coral reefs. Together they have created a coral nursery located just north of the dock at Eden Beach Resort.

Five Staghorn + Elkhorn coral nursery trees are now making space for 500 new corals.  The nursery corals will grow accustomed to their new home at Eden Beach & soon be transplanted to the reefs of Bonaire. Wannadive is now offering guided dives in their own coral nursery! Book your special offer dive package at Eden Beach Resort with Wannadive and while you are there check out some unique CRF merchandise. Click here for more details or stop by DEMA Booth #821 to learn more about their efforts.

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Sansone
jen@travelmarketing.com

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DIA Members to Exhibit at DEMA Show 2018

The following Dive Industry Association Members are exhibiting at the DEMA Show on November 13-17, 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.  Make it a point to visit our DIA Members FIRST.

Manufacturers

Retail Services & Software

Travel Businesses, Destinations, Resorts, & Dive Operators

Certification Agencies

Non-Profits

Associations, Media and Shows & Events

Posted in Shows & Events | 3 Comments

FAM Trip – Saint Lucia

FAM Trip – Saint Lucia – September 2018
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Dive Travel Specialists

Twelve Dive Travel Specialists from the United States recently had the pleasure to join the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority on a Familiarization Trip (FAM Trip) to the beautiful Island of Saint Lucia, in the Eastern Caribbean.  Saint Lucia is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  What you may not know is that Saint Lucia is a Diver’s Tropical Paradise with a healthy reef system, abundant marine life and a number of accessible shipwrecks.  There are at least 14 Professional Dive Operators on the island who will escort you on 22 of their most accessible dive sites along the calm, clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, situated on the west coast of the island.  Scuba Divers vacationing in Saint Lucia have their pick from a wide range of World Class Resort Destinations and Dive Centers that cater to the scuba diving community.  Saint Lucia is home to a number of Dive Industry Association Members, including the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Jade Mountain Resort, Anse Chastanet Resort and Scuba St. Lucia.  A complete list of Dive Operators and Dive Resorts in Saint Lucia can be found on our DIVE LOCAL website.

Our Industry FAM Trip was set up and sponsored by the St. Lucia Tourism Authority and supported by the Saint Lucia Diver Association.  Our Host Accommodations for the week was the Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, St. Lucia and our Tourism Guide was Hortensia Joseph, who we all became dear friends with in just a few days.  The trip was set up to introduce St. Lucia to Dive Travel Wholesalers, Travel Agents and Certified Dive Travel Specialists from the U.S. diving community.  Our group included two Travel Wholesalers, two Travel Agents, five Dive Travel Specialists from U.S. Dive Centers and two travel writers.  We were all excited about seeing as much of Saint Lucia as possible, do a fair amount of diving, enjoy the local cuisine, and capture the magic of this beautiful, romantic Caribbean Island.  In five days time, Hortensia and the St. Lucia Tourism Authority did not disappoint.

Before any FAM Trip can get off the ground, a fair amount of planning by the Host has to take place.  Someone has to justify the time, money and manpower it takes to host a group of  travel buyers to your country (Island).  Someone has to pay for it.  That same group has to put an itinerary together that is informative, meaningful, and fun for the guests.  The sponsors have to see the necessity of getting as much done in as short a period of time as possible.  The guests expect to spend their time wisely to learn and experience as much of the destination as they can in order to sell it to their customers back home.  It helps when Tourism Boards and Dive Travel Wholesalers work with Dive Industry Mavens to help them plan their itinerary and identify appropriate target markets.

Condo at Windjammer Landing

The itinerary that Hortensia Joseph put together was action packed.  Maybe a weeee-bit too optimistic?  After a three hour turbulent-free American Airlines flight from Miami we landed safely at Hewanorra International Airport in Viex Fort (UVF), one of Saint Lucia’s two airports. Our Driver from Travel St. Lucia got us to our Host Condos at the Windjammer Landing shortly after the customary fresh baked bread stop at a local eatery.  Thanks, Tage Jn Pierre.  The bread was awesome.  Scott Seger, the Managing Director of the Windjammer Landing met us at the Host Hotel with Kelly Fontenelle-Clarke and we enjoyed our first Saint Lucian fresh fish dinner.

We awoke early the next morning to a wonderful St Lucian sunrise in time for breakfast at the resort.  The sky was sunny & clear so we decided to tour the property at the Windjammer before our morning boat dive and I am so glad we did.  Within minutes, the torrential rain from Former Hurricane / Current Tropical Storm Issac came howling in.  Now I see why St. Lucia’s rain forest is so green!  After a short, heavy rain, the sky cleared and we decided to postpone our dive until 3:00 pm.  That afternoon we made two dives in view of the iconic twin Pitons of Saint Lucia.  The water was warm and clear and we saw sea turtles, barracuda, and wonderfully colored sponges.  Our Photographer, Steve Philbrook, from Aquaventure Dive & Photo Center in Maple Grove, MN captured the dive on video.  See for yourself.  Saint Lucia Video.  After the dive, we returned to the windjammer and got ready for the evening Fish Fry.  Now we were getting spoiled.

The third day of our trip went more according to plan.  No hurricane or tropical storm.  Issac moved to the west and everything was back to normal.  Our group split into two groups.  Half of us went for a wreck dive with Andre St. Omer from Body Holiday & Dive Fair Helen and the other half went Lionfish Hunting with Sugar Beach Dive.  We reunited with our group at the closing ceremonies of Dive Fest Saint Lucia 2018 and then went to dine at Bel Jou for the evening.  Thank you General Manager, Dean La Force for the amazing dinner and impeccable service.  A good time was had by all.  We were now completely spoiled.  I appreciate the use of your Wi-Fi equipped, private lounge to engage in a video call back home.

Gene & Georgi

We didn’t dive on our fourth day of the FAM Trip but it was still one of our better days, if not the best.  We had breakfast at the Windjammer, took a van ride to hook up with our catamaran and sailed away for site inspections at Ti Kaye, Humming Bird Beach Resort, Anse Chastanet Resort and of course, Jade Mountain.  After lunch at Anse Chastanet Resort, we toured the diving operation at Scuba St. Lucia.  Georgiana Merlusca, Adventure Sports Co-Manager, gave us a complete and professional tour of the dive operation, the compressor room, the rental equipment locker and the equipment washing and storage center.  We saw one of her boats returning from a dive and witnessed a very smooth off loading and reloading process that would make any dive operator jealous.  Needless to say, we were impressed.

We ended a full day with our Farewell Dinner at The Landings Resort & Spa.  Thank you General Manager, Paul Collymore for that exquisite dinner and your hospitality.  All that was left to do was to treat Hortensia to a good-bye drink at the Host Hotel Bar (She wouldn’t let us – she treated) and go back to the condo and pack.

When they say “Come to Saint Luca as a Tourist but Leave as a Friend” – they mean it.  My overall impression of Saint Lucia was –  It’s a beautiful Island, filled with beautiful people, who want you to visit them again, and again, and again.  Saint Lucia is more than a bucket list destination.  It’s someplace I want to go back to – soon.

Dive Travel Specialists who sell a lot of dive travel know what it takes to have a successful vacation experience.  We are looking for convenient and reasonable air fares, good ground transportation transfers, diver-friendly resorts, good food, and of course, great diving.  The great diving part applies to more than good visibility and easy access to the water.  It means having a well run diving operation (top-of-the-line rental equipment, quality air compressor, convenient equipment washing and storage area, an uncrowded dive boat and most importantly, a professional, energetic and friendly dive staff.  A world-class photo center and Photo Pro would be nice too.  We met a number of Dive Operators and Dive Resort Managers on our St. Lucia tour that fit that description.  We’ll be going back soon to take a closer look.

You might be asking yourself, “How does an Industry Professional qualify for a FAM trip?”  Good question.  Dive Resort Destinations, Liveaboards and Dive Operators are looking for Dive Industry Professionals who book group trips.  Most group trips are run by Travel Agents, Retail Dive Centers, Dive Clubs and through Tour Operators.  Getting invited on a FAM Trip will depend upon your dive travel experience and your history of putting together group trips.  It will also depend on how well you network with Travel Wholesalers, Dive Resorts, Dive Operators and Travel Associations. Dive Industry Association works with Dive Travel Specialists to help them grow their dive travel business.  We certify Dive Travel Specialists based on their past performance with booking group trips and we work with Industry Professionals who are new to dive travel.  There is no charge to fill out a two page retail dive profile.  To get started, simply download our Retail Profile and mail it to DIA with your business card.  Someone will follow up with an email and phone call.

Putting a group trip together is not as simple as you may think but it is easy to learn how to do.  Become a Member of the Dive Industry Association and work with our Dive Travel Specialists.  We will introduce you to our Member Dive Travel Wholesalers who can get you started with putting group trips together.

Running dive trips as a Dive Travel Specialist may seem like a lot of work to some, and it may seem all too glamorous to others, but it really is somewhere in the middle.  A little more work with a little bit of glamour but a whole heck of a lot of FUN.  As St Augustine once said, “Life is a Book, and if you don’t Travel, you’ve only read one page.”

Let’s get you started on the road to becoming a Dive Travel Specialist.  Call me.

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional
Phone: 321-914-3778

 

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