by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional
The new year is here and the trade show season is in full swing. This year our focus is on dive and travel shows. We tried the Surf Expos and the Adventure Travel Shows in the past six years but are back to focusing on consumer shows that specialize in scuba diving and diving related adventure travel. There is a higher concentration of specialized exhibitors in the exhibit halls and the seminars and workshops are tailored to divers who want to spend their recreational dollars on what interests them the most.
Our second show this year will be in Rosemont, IL on February 26-28, 2016 for the 46th Annual Our-World Underwater Dive & Travel Show. This is the largest dive & travel show in the Midwest.
Seminars, Workshops and Film Festival: The Show features over 13 workshops & 96 seminars on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, presented by 96 Speakers, many of who are the “Best in the Business”, like Annie Crawley, Steven Frink, and Jill Heinerth. The topics are varied, and include everything from adventure travel, marine conservation, technical diving, exotic marine life to secrets of great underwater photography. The Friday & Saturday Film Festivals will be hosted by Paul Cater Deaton and include the works of Jill Heinerth and a cast of other Speakers. The Workshops, Seminars and Film Festivals bring world-class education and entertainment to one of the greatest diving hubs in the country.
The North Central Dive Market: The greater Chicago area is a great market place for scuba diving. It has a large concentration of certified divers in the United States. At last count, there are approximately 279 Retail Dive Centers and at least 50 Dive Clubs in the Nine-State Greater North Central United States. If our Industry shared statistics and demographics on our industry, we could tell you how many scuba instructors there are in the nine state area and how many certified divers live there. Although I can’t tell you what the economic impact of scuba diving is in the North Central United States, I can tell you that it is significant. The fact that Our World-Underwater has been one of the three largest dive shows in the country for 46 years tells you that there is a market for scuba diving in the Midwest and it is BIG.
Something For the Local Dive Professionals: There will be 13 workshops and activities for Chicago area Dive Professionals during the three day weekend. Check Our World’s web site schedule at www.ourworldunderwater.com
On Friday, February 26, 2016 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, the first North Central Regional Summit Conference will kick off to address the “State of the Industry” for Local Retail Dive Centers, Local Dive Clubs, Local Boat Operators and Local Scuba Instructors.” The conference will be held in the Lambert Room of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, The Host Hotel for the Our World-Underwater Dive & Travel Show. Guest Speakers include Gene Muchanski (Dive Industry Association), Rick Stratton (Scuba & H2O Adventure Magazine), Patrick Hammer (Scuba Emporium), Capt. Jim Gentile (Windy City Divers) and Lucy Dunbar (PADI Americas). The three hour conference will include 1 hour of Introductions and Guest Speakers, a 1 hour breakout session to discuss industry and regional challenges, and a 1 hour summary of what can be done to make the local diving community stronger. Admission is free but space is limited to 50 Industry Professionals. Please RSVP with Gene Muchanski at email@example.com or call Gene at 321-914-3778.
The Exhibit Hall: The Exhibit Hall will be open on Friday from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. There will be 114 Exhibitors in 170 Booths, consisting of major dive equipment manufacturers, dive training agencies, local dive clubs, dive stores, dive brokers and some of the best travel destinations on the planet.
Summary: The 46th Annual Our World-Underwater has all the makings of a wonderful show for the local diving community. The Diving Industry has embraced this show and they are looking forward to promoting the best of the best diving in the North Central U.S.
Editorial: Patrick and Jim – Thank you for putting in the time and effort for making this show happen. We’ll see you in Rosemont on February 26-28, 2016.