“Promoting Local Diving”
What started out as an editorial quickly turned into a full feature article. This month’s newsletter article, “In Support of Local Diving” describes the new trend in the diving community as a return to the promotion of local diving. The Dive Industry Association, in partnership with Dive News Network has begun a search for local diving ambassadors that will work with us put the spotlight on people and events in their region. We are starting with a regional breakdown similar to the format used in Scuba & H2O Adventure Magazine. In the United States, Local Diving is showcased in the Northeast, Midwest, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast. Plans are underway to also include South Central and The Bahamas & Caribbean.
Ideas for a grassroots campaign to promote Local Diving is based on what we know about past successes and failures in the diving industry over the past 50 years. We have seen the birth, growth, success, and sometimes demise of large Regional Dive Shows. The big four that come to mind are; Beneath The Sea, Our World-Underwater, Sea Space and Scuba Show. We’ve seen trade shows like Surf Expo grow every year while adapting to its market whereas The Super Show folded after conducting a show that drew over 80,000 qualified buyers in its last year. We’ve seen organizations like the Women Divers Hall of Fame grow in numbers, respect and popularity every year while many clubs and training agencies grew smaller and less significant. We remember how connected NAUI Worldwide was in the day of Branches and Branch Managers. The socio-political aspect of a strong branch of local industry professionals is one worth emulating. We’ve also seen the gathering of industry leaders at Luncheons sponsored by the Dive Industry Association and its Media Partners at the Tacoma Shows. Most recently we were encouraged by the Northeast Diving Summit conducted at Beneath The Sea by the New Jersey Council of Diving Clubs this past March.
Grassroots organizations are being formed to include Ambassadors from Retail Dive Centers, Dive Operators, Dive Clubs and Instructors. Manufacturers, Travel Businesses, Service Providers and Training Agencies could help by pledging to become financial Sponsors of the campaign. Each grassroots organization will hold Summit Meetings at least once a year in conjunction with major dive shows or travel and adventure shows held in their region. Rick Stratton has already volunteered to host a Northwest Diving Summit at the 2016 Scuba & H2O Adventure Show in Seattle. Plans are underway to establish a Florida Diving & Watersports Conference in the next 1-2 years.
The Dive Industry Foundation ( non-profit 501(c)3 ) is currently working with Tourist Boards, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, local Chambers of Commerce, and various national organizations to secure partnerships and sponsorships to promote local diving on a local, regional, national and international basis.
A web site has been set up to organize the local promotional effort and secure funding. Interested Sponsors and volunteer Ambassadors can follow the progress on our Blog at www.diveindustry.org and our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/divefoundation beginning on June 1, 2015. You can become an Ambassador, Sponsor or “Friend of the Industry” by volunteering your time, money or manpower to the Foundation.
If the light at the end of the cave is indeed the return to promotion of local diving, this may be the time in our recreation that we will look back on and be glad we started the ball rolling.