What Will Be Important To You For The Next 20 Years? –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional
The Diving Industry is reinventing itself for the next 20 years because of the corona virus outbreak. Since the pandemic started, we have all questioned where our industry stands now and where is it we want to go. Even with a high degree of fragmentation and political disagreement in the diving industry today, we kind of know how the diving industry began and where we were headed before the pandemic stopped us dead in our tracks. Now it’s time to reorganize and rebuild for our future.
Forty years ago I was graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Marketing and heading off to California to continue my career in the diving industry. As NAUI’s first Marketing Director, and later in the Manufacturing and Retail sectors, I got a great overview of the International Diving Community and was able to witness the building of our recreation from an insider’s perspective, with the help of key people in the equipment, training and travel industries. I saw the focus, goals and agendas of the competing industry sectors, as they strove to build their companies and their careers. My peers and I were fascinated about the politics of the industry and made it our life’s work. Some of us branched out and made a good living as Industry Consultants and Entrepreneurs. Many, unfortunately, got discouraged, angry or simply burned out. It’s too bad that many of them didn’t live to see this new dawn of opportunity in the re-building of our beloved recreation. The post COVID-19 Diving and Adventure Travel Industry.
Before I get to the main point of this article, I’d like to point out that Dive Industry Planners like myself are generally biased and opinionated. Not that it’s a bad thing – it’s just the way it is. We become opinionated based on our environment, education and experience. And many times we have to realize that people who have a different environment, education and experience background will see things differently through their own perspective. So my opinion, is basically an expression of my own limited perspective.
Our 21st Century Diving Community of the future needs to focus on diving as a profession for our Dive Industry Professionals and as a recreation for certified divers. Dive Industry Professionals are part of the Trade and should be treated accordingly. The focus of the trade should be to bring Buyers & Sellers together. The Professional Development aspect of the Industry has to be shared by the originators of the topics. Equipment Manufactures need to focus on equipment and repair educational development. Training Agencies need to focus on Diving Instruction Development. Travel companies need to develop professional development programs for Dive Travel Specialists. Business organizations like the Dive Industry Association and the Small Business Development Centers need to be the go-to sources for Business Professional Development.
With that said, studying the diving industry for the past 60 years, I believe that our recreation grows or declines based on the sale of diving equipment, training and travel products. As a business community I believe that we should focus on supporting dive industry professionals who; 1) Teach people to dive, 2) Sell them diving equipment, 3) Take people diving and 4) Keep certified divers active. I support local diving communities who have a solid core of retail dive stores at the center of each community. I also firmly believe in the creation and support of one common Channel of Distribution that uses a Manufacture, Sales Agent, Retailer, Instructor and End User.
That basically sums up an overview of the diving industry as it is coupled with a basic foundation for some of the building blocks of our new industry. Now we ask – As a Dive Industry Professional (Someone who earns a living in diving) – What is important to you in the post COVID-19 dive community?
Do you like things the way they are now? Are you comfortable with dive equipment manufacturing? Is your Training Agency giving you what you need? Are they giving you too much? Not enough? How has the Travel Industry prepared you for being successful as a Dive Travel Specialist? Do you feel like a competent Business Person? Where did you get your Business Training? Where would you like to get future business training? Who is your source when it comes to the business of diving issues?
It’s time to open an Industry dialog. As Dive Industry Professionals – What do you need going forward? Who do you want supplying that information? If you don’t ask now, you’ll get more of the same next year and the year after. Is that OK with you?