The 2018 Diving Season got off to its usual start on Memorial Day. The water is warm in the south (but not too warm) and the sky’s are clear. People are out diving. And they are traveling too. I just got back from Dominican Republic and Scuba Caribe has some new boats, plenty of rental equipment and a scuba staff that would make any resort proud. They have a fantastic coral restoration project going on close to one of the Dreams Resort properties. Here’s a shout out to a great Diving Instructor I just met there – Hi Soledad Del Pino ! Dominican Republic is expanding like crazy but it is still a well kept secret to the world. Especially to the world of diving. I’m beginning to think I know why.
We are gearing up for a trip to Saint Lucia. There is a Photo Fest in September that has our interest and we are putting a FAM Trip together for Retail Dive Travel Specialists. I first looked into Saint Lucia when Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Anse Chastanet Resort and Scuba Saint Lucia joined our Association. Having never been to Saint Lucia before, I began my research and became a Saint Lucia Specialist through IATA / IATAN. I was amazed to see that Saint Lucia has at least 24 Resorts offering scuba diving, 11 Dive Operators, 2 Dive Shops and two Dive and Tourist Associations. There may be more. Two of our Travel Wholesalers in DIA do any outstanding business in Saint Lucia already.
In the past few months I’ve spoken with hundreds of dive industry professionals at dive shows, on the telephone, in social media and via email. We all agree that the Industry is fragmented and has a number of problems. We know that people are real busy trying to make a buck and we have a tendency to do the same things we did in the past when it comes to running our business. The one thing that I see is missing is the FUN. The Dive Industry Professionals I’ve spoken to recently are not having fun. A number of them have told me they had to go out and get “Real Jobs.” Now, that’s sad. Not because they got a job, but that they felt they HAD to get a job outside of diving.
Here’s my advice. If you really love diving but do not like the Business of Diving, by all means, get a job and scuba dive as a Hobby. You and your family will all be a lot happier because of that decision. The industry professionals who do this for a living will be happier too because we will have less people running under capitalized businesses, trying to scrape together just enough money to pay the mortgage. We’ll also have one more customer !
Now here’s the good news. There is plenty of opportunity in the diving industry. And where there is opportunity, there is hope. People are still getting certified, albeit not as many as in the Baby Boom Era. Divers are still buying gear, although maybe not from you. And people are traveling – lots of them. I believe the Travel Industry is a 4 Trillion Dollar industry. However, things are changing rapidly in the 21st Century Business Model. We have to put training, and the need for it in perspective. We have to analyze why people buy gear, and when, and where. We have to embrace travel as the reason people buy gear and take lessons to begin with. And have you noticed the massive increase in large, all inclusive Resorts that have large, Independent Dive Operator Companies running their dive programs? We have.
I believe that our industry needs to embrace Training, Equipment and Travel as 3 parts of the whole picture. Like a 3 legged stool, each part must be equal and balanced. In our DIVE LOCAL program we talk about the 4 priorities of diving – 1) Learn to Dive 2) Buy Your Gear 3) Go Diving 4) Stay Active. It’s that simple.
The Dive Industry Association and it’s non-profit training organization, The Dive Industry Foundation is embarking on a program to write a white paper that shows the industry how we can Unify the Diving Industry, step by step. This white paper will be a summation of industry intelligence that we, as a collective industry of professionals have compiled since the 1950’s. We are in the process of assembling a list of successful dive industry professionals that have lived, worked and enjoyed this industry from the beginning. It will be a story of how things started, how they grew, how and when they changed, and what we can, and should do about it in the future.
We are in the process of writing the introduction now. We started with 10 steps that can help us unify the industry. I’ll give you a hint on Step 1 to Unifying the Diving Industry. You are doing it right now. STEP 1: Subscribe to this Blog to get updates every time a new Chapter is written. We will start sending out invitations to subscribing to this blog, this week.
If anyone is interested in giving me the benefit of their diving business experience, I would be happy to contact you by email, phone, or personal visit, as appropriate. For more information, contact Gene Muchanski, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904. Phone: 321-914-3778. eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference: Dive Industry Blog – www.DiveIndustryNews.Wordpress.com
Reference: Consumer Website & Directory – www.DiveLocal.org