FAM Trip – Belize

FAM Trip – Belize
July 19-23, 2019

by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Participating in a familiarization trip (FAM Trip) is always an exciting adventure for Dive Travel Specialists.  Visiting a new resort two weeks before its Grand Opening is even more exciting.  FAM Trips are the way we get to know all about Dive Resorts and their Dive Operators.  Talking to a Travel Representative at a Dive Show does not compare to seeing the resort up close and personal and experiencing it for yourself.   You learn more about a Resort’s Dive Operation by going diving with them and their staff.  That is exactly what 28 Dive Travel Specialists did earlier this summer.

On July 19th we took a group of Retail Dive Travel Specialists to Sir Karim Hakim’s Belize Dive Haven on the Turneffe Atoll in Belize.  Debra Helms of Roatan Charter, Inc. put the trip together and asked us to participate.  The purpose of the FAM Trip was to introduce Belize Dive Haven to some of the industry’s Top Dive Travel Specialists.  Part of what the Travel Division of the Dive Industry Association does is identify FAM Trip Ready Travel Buyers and invite them on a three to five day Familiarization Trip Experience at select Dive Resort Destinations.

We invited a great group of Dive Travel Specialists from our list of FAM Trip-Ready Industry Professionals.  We connected with Dive Store Owners and Dive Travel Specialists from California, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Belize.  We organized the trip so that we would have one day of travel arriving, three days of diving and one day of travel departing.  In my opinion, a five day FAM Trip is the perfect length of time for a Caribbean trip.  A few days longer may be more appropriate for a South Pacific or  Indonesian trip.  This schedule gives you plenty of time to reach your destination and still get to see things along the way.  Using your first day of travel is a great way to get to know the members of your group and answer any questions they may have.  Three days of diving is perfect.  Usually, you get to see the best dive spots the resort has to offer in a short period of time.  Having the last day off to pack your bags, see some local sites , and say your good-byes makes for a relaxing day.

A lot of planning goes into a FAM Trip, especially if you want it to be successful and FUN.  Historically, FAM Trips are put together by Dive Travel Wholesalers, Tourism Bureaus, Resort Destinations, and sometimes, experienced Dive Travel Specialists.  I may be slightly biased but I believe that Dive Travel Wholesalers do the best job of putting these trips together.  They know the travel market (The Sellers), they know adventure travel (The Product), and they know their customers (The Retail Travel Buyers).  They are experienced at bringing travel buyers and sellers together and it shows in their track record of group trip bookings.  Having a Dive Travel Association as part of your FAM Trip Team helps coordinate Dealer selection, pre-trip marketing promotions, on-site marketing opportunities and post-trip followup.  It also is a big plus if your Travel Association helps you put together a SWAG Gift Bag or Photo Contest for your participants.

Roatan Charter put together a great Belize FAM Trip.  The Resort Destination was Belize Dive Haven Resort on Turneffe Atoll.  The resort is brand new, scheduled to open to the public on August 1, 2019 and we were her first FAM Trip Group.  Two other groups had stayed there a few months prior, so we weren’t the first people to dive with the Resort’s Dive Team.  The trip was by invitation only from Belize Dive Haven’s owner, Sir Karim Hakim.  It included four nights deluxe accommodations, round-trip boat transfers from Belize City and Turneffe Atoll, three days of diving, three meals daily and hotel taxes.  A low cost companion option was included in the invitation.  Airfare, drinks and gratuity were not included.

We tried something new on this trip that supported our mission of bringing Buyers and Sellers together.  We knew that we were going to be spending five days with Retail Travel Buyers on a Caribbean Island and we wanted it to be fun and enjoyable.  We decided to put SWAG Gift Bags together for all of our participants; Retailers, Companions, and Resort Staff.  A number of Dive Industry Association Member’s responded to our request and donated over $7,000 worth of gift items for our SWAG Gift Bags.  Roatan Charter provided the Bag.  4 Ocean gave each participant a Signature Bracelet and a metal water bottle. Lita’s Natural Insect Repellent provided a sample pack of Insect Repellent, Insect Bite Itch Relief and Duel Purpose Repellent & Itch Relief.   Riptide Sales Group provided Peppers Polarized Eyewear Sunglasses and Lanyards.  SeaCure Custom Mouthpiece added a custom mouthpiece for each participant.  Stream2Sea provided all of us with a choice of either Sun & Sting Relief Gel and Leave-in Conditioner or Sunscreen for Face & Body and Tinted Sunscreen.

The FAM Trip participants  came from nine different states, so the plan was to meet at Hakim’s Pizza Restaurant in Belize City and then take the dive boats to Belize Dive Haven.   We chose Southwest Airlines as our air carrier and I’m so glad we did.  We got a great price on the round-trip airfare from Orlando to Belize and our “Bags Flew Free.”  When you have nine bags of dive gear, photo gear, clothing and 35 SWAG gift bags to carry, Bags Fly Free is a BIG Plus.   Thank you Southwest.

The flight to Belize was short and enjoyable.  Being that it was our first time to Belize I was pleasantly surprised how inexpensive the flight was, how short the flight was from Florida and how easy it is to get to Belize.  The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City is a small, but well run and efficient airport.  After paying our custom’s duty on our “imported gift items” we were whisked away in Belize Dive Haven Vans, to Hakim’s Pizza Restaurant, across the street from Hakim’s Marina, where we would board the boats to our new adventure.

Photo by Jonas Stevens

Boating to the resort was very enjoyable due to a smooth ride through the mangroves.  Our first sight of the 100 room resort sitting on a 500 acre private island was a breathtaking one.  Sir Hakim greeted us at the pier, along with Max Monsanto, the Dive Center’s Course Director.  We got a better view of this beautiful 4-story resort as we walked across the bridge of the resort’s 50 meter pool.  After our customary welcoming cocktail punch we were shown to our rooms where our bags (all nine of them) were waiting for us.

We had plenty of time to unpack, connect to the internet and enjoy a movie on NetFlix.  Thanks to the resort’s own communication tower on campus, we had all the internet and wi-fi we needed to correspond with the world.    I was starting to see that Belize Dive Haven was designed as a self-sustaining complex, with its own electricity, water making capability and internet communication.  That evening we had a welcome aboard dinner, handed out the Gift Bags and got to relax over drinks with our new companions.  A staff introduction by Max made us all feel at home with our new hosts.

Belize Dive Haven has tremendous potential as a dive resort.  The Resort sits on a 500 acre, privately owned island.  It makes its own electricity, makes its own fresh water and has its own communication tower that provides guests with wi-fi and internet capability.  Scattered across the grounds are light posts powered by individual solar panels.  The grounds are well illuminated at night.  The resort complex has its own air strip for small planes and a Helicopter Pad, in case you would rather fly to the Resort from Belize City instead of taking the boat.  Next to the new canal, behind the resort is room for a number of privately owned Condos and owner Yachts.  The resort has a 50 meter pool in front of the resort and a second pool, near completion, next to the bar and outdoor dining room.  The hotel has 100 guest rooms, a grand ballroom & dining area and plans for a roof-top disco.  The hotel, itself, is a work in progress and something new is added almost everyday.  The dive operations office and classroom are complete and the next projects to finish are the wet gear dive locker on the pier and the equipment storage and repair facility in the dive operations building.

The next three days was full of diving, exploring the grounds of the new resort, learning all about our new friends and trying to photograph and video the trip.  I had the pleasure of testing Tovatec‘s new MERA, the hand held Dive Light, Camera and Video.  We had another new product to test.  It was Sublue’s Underwater Scooter.  Our group had plenty of time to correspond with the staff and offer them suggestions on getting their resort and dive operation ready for the general public for their upcoming Grand Opening.

We came for the diving and if anyone in our group books a group trip, it will be to go diving.  Max Monsanto and Cardinal Andrews are in charge of the Diving Operation.  Max is a Course Director and Cardinal is a DiveMaster.  These guys are experienced divers, great leaders and fun to be with.  Their two Captains, Tyrell Ferfuson and Deron McKoy did an outstanding job with our group.  No problems getting us to our dive sites, getting us in the water or picking us up.  Our DiveMasters Rodney Waight and James Andrews Jr. were a kick.  Fun to be with, professional in their duties, and always present and observant in the water.   I would dive with any one of these Dive Professionals.

Photo by Dana Polites

The dive sites we visited in the Turneffe Atoll gave us a good sampling of Belize diving.  The water was warm, clear and calm.  We saw Sharks, Barracuda, Rays, Goliath Groupers, Turtles, Dolphins and a few Lionfish.  My favorite dive was “The Elbow”, a short boat ride from the resort.  We didn’t get to dive the famous Belize Blue Hole, but that just gives us another reason to return to Belize.

At the end of every FAM Trip, I ask myself two questions.  1) Would I go back?  2) Would I take a group there?  Since this was my first time to Belize and Belize Dive Haven, the answer is definitely yes to going back.  There were so many pictures and video I didn’t take.  There were so many dives I didn’t do and I want to see even more of the marine life I did see.  I also want to go back to see the progress this new resort is making over time.  Would I take a group there?  My next trip to Belize Dive Haven will be another FAM Trip.  I know what to expect now based on my first trip and I know what I would like to see on the next trip.

As a Travel Trade Association we are always looking for FAM Trip-ready Travel Buyers to introduce to new Dive Destinations.  By the same taken, we are also looking for Diver-Ready Travel Destinations to show to our Dive Travel Specialists.  I have a good feeling that Belize Dive Haven will one day be on our “most favorite” list.  Stay tuned.


Posted in Adventure Travel, FAM Trips | Leave a comment

SWAG Gift Bags Work

Offer Your Travel Buyers a Complimentary Gift Bag – 
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

On July 19-24, 2019 we took part in a FAM Trip to Belize to introduce 30 Retail Dive Centers and Dive Travel Specialists to a new Dive Resort, Belize Dive Haven. Debbie Helms, President of Roatan Charter organized the trip at the invitation of Sir Karim Hakim, Owner of Belize Dive Haven.  As an Authorized Travel Advisor and Executive Director of Dive Industry Association, I am always on the look-out for Retail Dive Stores that sell Dive Travel.    FAM Trips are a very special tool for Resort Destinations who want to find high volume group travel buyers.  I thought, maybe it could also be a valuable tool for dive equipment manufactures and training agencies.  We had just published a Blog article on June 11th entitled, Let Us Be Your Ambassador For A Day, so we decided to give it a try.

In our July Editorial Blog, Integrating All The Pieces Into Oneyou can read about our decision to try this new concept.  Since it has never been done before with any amount of success in our industry, we did not know if it would work.  As you can tell from our blogs, posts and pictures we received a great amount of industry participation and interest.  We really have to thank our Sponsors for helping us put this concept into practice.  Debbie Helms, Roatan Charter thought it was a great idea and had Gift Bags made up.  Lita Davis, Lita’s Natural Insect Repellent, started us off with a gift pack of three samples; Lita’s Insect Repellent Spray, Lita’s Insect Itch Relief, and Lita’s Dual Purpose Insect Repellent & Insect Bite Itch Relief.  Autumn Blum, Stream2Sea, gave our guests the option of a sample bag of Sun & Sting Relief Gel and Leave-in Conditioner or a sample bag of Sunscreen for Face & Body and Tinted Sunscreen.  John Flanders, SeaCure Custom Mouthpiece, supplied each of us with a Custom Mouthpiece.  Dave Pollock, RipTide Sales Group was quickly on-board and got us hooked up with Peppers Polarized Eyeware and 4 Ocean.  Peppers gave us 30 Sunglasses, Eyeware Retainer Leashes and Lanyards.  4 Ocean sent us a Reusable Metal Water Bottle and a 4 Ocean Bracelet for each Guest.  The Gift Bags were distributed to our Guests at our Welcoming Dinner in Belize.  The complements and praise from our guests was overwhelming.  I think it actually set the stage for a positive trip because our Dive Travel Specialists knew that we cared enough to thank them for coming with us on this FAM Trip.

Did it work?  Absolutely.  Did we learn anything?  Absolutely.  We knew that size and weight of the samples has a lot to do with our airline baggage limitations.  We also learned a thing or two about Customs.  The trick is to get equipment sponsors to provide actual samples of products they sell or sample items that are useful on a five day dive trip.  I guarantee that our next FAM Trip Gift Bag will be even better.

To summarize our concept, I have to say that we stayed true to our Mission of bringing Buyers and Sellers together.  We introduced a new dive resort and a number of dive products to a select group of professional Retail Buyers who buy and resell dive equipment, training and travel.  Very few company representatives get to spend five days on location with their Dealers.  We were able to do that on a FAM Trip Experience.  Very few Sales Reps travel throughout the Caribbean and beyond to visit their Resort and Dive Operator accounts.  On this trip we visited with one Dive Resort and Dive Operator.  On other FAM Trips we sometimes get a chance to visit with 6 or more Local Resorts and Dive Operators.  Either way, we get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with some of the best Buyers & Sellers in the Dive Industry.

There is one other thing we learned on this trip.  New Resorts look for and appreciate getting their hands on pictures and video of their operation from their guests.  Many manufacturers would also like pictures and video from actual users of their products.  Our next FAM Trip will include that option for our Guests and Hosts.  We plan to integrate SWAG Gift Bags and Photo Competitions on all future FAM Trip Experiences.  Subscribe to this blog for more FAM Trip updates.

For more information contact:
Gene Muchanski, Dive Travel Specialist
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Email: gene@diveindustry.net
Web: www.diveindustry.net

Posted in Adventure Travel, FAM Trips | 1 Comment

DIA Members To Exhibit at DEMA Show 2019

The following Dive Industry Association Members are exhibiting at the DEMA Show on November 13-16, 2019 at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, FL.  Make it a point to visit our DIA Members for Great Show Specials.


Retail Services & Software

Travel Businesses, Destinations, Resorts, & Dive Operators

Certification Agencies


Associations, Media and Shows & Events


  • Friday, Nov 15 – 11:00 am – Room W304B – Bill Beard Costa Rica
  • Saturday, Nov 16 – 8:00 am – 5:00 pm – NAUI Worldwide – Visual Cylinder Inspection
Posted in Events & Activities, Shows & Events | Leave a comment

Editorial – August 2019

Old Dog – New Tricks – 
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

It’s August now.  This is when the entire diving industry starts getting ready for the DEMA Show.  Basically.  The show starts just 98 Days from today, which means that we have 98 days of do our pre-show marketing.  That will be followed by 4 Days of at-show marketing and then 45 Days of post-show follow-up, minus 3 days for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  Most of us in the industry know this by heart because we are the “Old Dogs” in the business and this is definitely not our first Rodeo.  But even Old Dogs lose their usefulness unless they can learn New Tricks.

What prompted this month’s editorial topic was an email I received from a dear friend in the diving industry who was writing about many negative things happening in his business.  He talked about his sales being down by 10-15%, students not buying gear, smaller margins on equipment, boat dive attendance being lower, new divers not making equipment purchases, older dives not wanting to do local dives, and of course, the internet and internet sales.  My heart went out to this Old Dog because it seems that his business and his enthusiasm for the business of diving has gone to poop.  Then I compared him to four other Old Dogs I know who are ruffly the same age he is.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  They are the same age, have the same experience, are in the same industry, and doing business in the same economy.  The things that are different about them is they learned new things along the way, they changed with the times, they grew and now they are succeeding in today’s industry.  Old Dogs – New Tricks.

History tells us that things always change.  You wouldn’t think of fighting new wars with the old weapons of the past.  Why would you use old business tools to engage in today’s business environment?  In Jon Acuff’s book, Start, the author talks about the five stages on the road to awesome.  In our 20’s we are Learning.  In our 30’s we are Editing what we know.  In our 40’s we are Mastering our skills.  In our 50’s we are Harvesting what we have planted and in our 60’s we are Guiding others to walk down the path we have already been on.  I read that 6 years ago and have seen this focus work in my life.   I learned that you find the Fountain of Youth by going back to your 20’s and learning new things.  That is what keeps you young, renewed and alive.

Now I am taking Jon’s five  steps and putting them into the accelerated and compressed time frame of the present day business environment.  I discovered that all five stages still happen one at a time, but within a compressed time frame.  Every time I face a business challenge, I learn a new skill to solve it (Learn), make it work for me in my industry (Edit), and then keep doing it until I Master the technique (Master).   Those three steps help me to overcome the challenge and make it into a financially successful opportunity (Harvest) that I can then pass along (Guiding) to my peers.  I may not know many new things intuitively, but with a book, some practice, editing and refining I can learn and master new tricks.

Time is a cruel companion.  It can be a great Teacher but it always wants to take the upper hand.  Well, I prefer to be the Master of Time instead of its Whipping Boy.  As we grow older and hopefully wiser, things should become clearer and more focused for us.  If we learn to maximize our individual strengths and minimize our weaknesses, we can accomplish more with less effort.  This happens all the time now.

As an example, two weeks ago we went on a FAM Trip to Belize.  It was a cooperative effort to bring Buyers and Sellers of dive equipment, training and travel together.  Our Association worked with a Travel Wholesaler to bring a group of Retail Travel Specialists to a new Dive Resort while we introduced everyone to a new group of equipment manufacturers and service providers.  We got an excellent deal for the trip, offered it to seasoned travel buyers,  included a companion option in the package, raised over $7,000 in Gift Bags items and presented our participants with the best SWAG Gift Bag I’ve seen in our industry.  We met new Buyers and introduced new Sellers.  We launched a pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip marketing campaign and I can tell you that all of us got a much bigger bang for our buck than other FAM Trips.  And we learned a few things along the way.  Next FAM Trip will be even better.

This recent new campaign added another component to a business model  we have been working on this year.  The components are:  1) Focusing on the sale of dive equipment, training and travel.  2) Working to bring Buyers and Sellers together.  3) Getting the industry and the consuming public to focus on; a) Learning to Dive  b) Buying their Gear  c) Going Diving and  d) Staying Active.  4) Working together by integrating sales and marketing techniques among all business entities within a specific “Chanel of Distribution.”

Membership in an active Association has its privileges.  Working within a Network has its advantages.  Going it alone, with “your own thing”, is so 20th Century thinking.  Remember that doing what you’ve always done, may get you what you always got.  Or worse, doing what you’ve done in the past, may not even work any more.  Welcome to the 21st Century.  Let’s work together.

For more information on working with a 21st Century Member-Centric Association, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Phone: 321-914-3778
email: gene@diveindustry.net
Web: www.diveindustry.net

Posted in Business Improvement, Editorials | Leave a comment

Editorial – July 2019

Integrating All The Pieces Into One – 
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

My Grandmother used to say, “Too soon old, too late smart.”  I think I resemble that remark, but I have to add “It’s better late, then never.”  I’ve been working in the diving industry for over fifty years now and I have met so many talented people in our community throughout the years.  We all had great ideas, or thought we did, but the means we needed to express our thoughts and share them with others, didn’t exist at the time.  Not like they do now.

In the old days, before the digitization of images, computerized graphics and streaming electronic messages, all we had was a handful of old books about Scuba Diving, Skin Diver Magazine and The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau on TV.  And even though Dive Shops at the time didn’t have much marketing capability, Cousteau sparked an interest in our recreation and the general public fell in love with scuba diving and the marine environment.  Scuba diving as a recreation boomed and an interest in the world’s oceans was born.

The Dive Industry Association has been “Building a Better Industry, One Member at a Time.” for nineteen years now.  Four Hundred and Four Member Businesses have joined our industry network and worked together to increase their sales.  They knew that if businesses wanted to be successful, they had to continually focus on being more professional, productive and profitable.  These early pioneers believed they could learn more from networking with their peers than by going it alone.  We now know that working closely with your peers is also what makes an industry grow.

Over the years we learned about and hopefully mastered new marketing techniques and  vehicles that enable us to formulate and send messages to prospect clients who have the need, desire and means to obtain the major products of the diving industry – dive equipment, training and travel products.  We believe that a message the general public will accept and act upon is: 1) Learn to Dive  2) Buy Your Gear  3) Go Diving  4) Stay Active.  We believe that if we learn how to network and cooperate with our peers in the diving industry, our businesses will become more successful and the industry will grow.

So we have our work cut out for us.   We must master the tools that capture the sounds, images and actions of our recreation.  We have to consistently refine our abilities of editing and producing our messages to our potential customers.  We need to apply our knowledge and understanding of the modern marketing vehicles that deliver our messages and we have to develop and maintain business relationships with our customers and clients in order to recommend and provide programs, products and services that are in their best interest to have.  There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and Integrating all these pieces into one strategy is the way to do it.

For the past two years we have been researching and writing white papers that tackle the issue of bringing Buyers & Sellers together to increase sales, increase customer satisfaction and grow the industry. Our first white paper, Uniting the Diving Industry, gave us the road-map for putting Industry Professionals on the same page, communicative wise.  The white paper we fished yesterday, The Dive Industry Association Membership Manuel & Guide, gave us the step-by-step guide to what we do and why.  Now it’s time to put our ideas to the test and show you what happens when we work together to bring Buyers & Sellers together.

Two weeks from now we will take part in a FAM Trip to introduce a New Dive Resort to a group of 35 Retail Dive Centers and Dive Travel Specialists.  We put together a SWAG Gift Bag together for the Retailers and the Resort Operators that includes environmentally safe suntan lotions and shampoos, natural inspect repellents, sunglasses, custom mouthpieces, and a number of new environmentally correct products and programs.  This trip will be more than merely introducing 35 potential buyers to a new seller of travel.  It will be about matching new buyers to new sellers with new products and unique vacation / recreation concepts.  With our pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip media campaign, this 5 day FAM Trip will be about introducing the power of networking and cooperation, the industry has never seen before.

Will this concept work?  I don’t know.  It’s never been done before.  But if you subscribe to our blog on www.diveindustry.net you’ll be one of first to know.  If you become a member of the Dive Industry Association you can become one of the first to participate in these programs.  Request a Member Application from gene@diveindustry.net today.


Posted in Adventure Travel, Editorials, Industry | Leave a comment

Let Us Be Your Ambassador For A Day

Introduce Yourself With a SWAG Bag Item – 
by Gene Muchanski,
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional. 

Wholesale selling is all about relationships.  Relationships develop and grow from Introductions, Common Ground and Relationship Development.  I’m in the Business Relationship Business.  As a Trade Association Executive Director my Mission is to bring Buyers and Sellers together.  My job is to introduce buyers and sellers who have the potential to do business together.  We do that at trade shows, consumer shows and visits to their physical locations.

Our Association participates in Travel FAM Trips.  We work with Tourism Bureaus, Travel Wholesalers, Resort Destinations, Dive Operators, Resort Retailers, and Qualified Dive Travel Specialists.  When we put a FAM Trip together, it’s usually at the request of one or more Dive Destinations.  I personally know many of them because I’ve seen them at the DEMA Show but not all of them go to DEMA.  I also know many of the Retail Travel Buyers because I’ve seen them at DEMA or at their Regional Dive Show.  Again, I know many of them, but not all, because not all Retailers go to DEMA or their Regional Dive Show.

I do know of most of the Resort Destinations, Travel Wholesalers and Retail Dive Center Owners in the Industry, Worldwide.  Probably because I’ve acquired their contact information somewhere along the way from their business card or email correspondence.  Thousands of Dive Industry Professionals have visited our websites or subscribed to our Weekly News Press Releases, Blogs, and our Monthly Newsletter, The Dive Industry Professional.  My Number One Goal in Life is to put a face together with a name of the 8,000 Dive Industry Professionals in my database.

When we invite qualified Retail Travel Buyers to attend a FAM Trip with us, we are working with the best of the best in Dive Retailing.  Most, if not all of them are very successful at what they do. They sell gear, teach diving and plan group trips.  Let me ask you.  When was the last time your Regional Rep visited your Key Accounts?

When we fly off to a Dive Destination with a group of Key Travel Buyers, we want to take them to the best locations we represent.  Again, these are the most successful Resort Operators in the industry.  They have great resorts, fine food, and usually the best diving in their area.  I have another question for you.  When was the last time your Regional Rep visited your best Dive Destinations and Dive Operators?  Does your Caribbean Rep see his major accounts often?  If not, then I could be your Company Ambassador for the Day.

Here is one thing we do to bring Buyers & Sellers together.  On all of our FAM Trips from now on, we plan to put a SWAG Bag together for each FAM Trip Participant and for each Dive Destination and Dive Operator we visit.  A gift for each participant for joining us and a thank you gift for each of our hosts.   We will share your gift and contact information with our participants and we will share their contact information with you.  To be fair to all of our Members, there are a few restrictions.

SWAG Bag Items – Disclaimer – Items subject to approval

  • SWAG Bag Item source must to a current Member in Dive Industry Association.
  • Item must be a true sample or actual line item.  We are not delivering only brochures and price lists !
  • Samples cannot compete against the Sponsors of the FAM Trip.  (Our other six Travel Wholesalers can’t participate if the trip is run by one Travel Wholesaler but all Travel Wholesales can participate if the FAM Trip is run by a Tourism Board).
  • Competing Resorts of the Participating Resorts are forbidden.
  • Must be able to provide one sample per person.  Some FAM Trips have 4 people and 1 Resort Destination.  Some have 20 people and 6 Dive Destinations.  They all differ.
  • Offer is valid depending on size and weight limitations of airline baggage.

What makes a good SWAG Bag Item?  Something small, something useful, something that you normally sell that a client can reorder.  Something for diving or diving related.  Diving equipment or personal item.  Trade Show Bags with your Logo on it.  Amazon Gift Cards for $1,000 – Just kidding!  So far we have companies who have committed Reef Safe Suntan Lotion, Natural Insect Repellent, Sunglasses, and a Custom Mouthpiece product.  Whatever you choose, we will give you full details and quantities during the sign in process.

Our next FAM Trip is to Belize on July 19-23, 2019.  The FAM Trip is Sponsored by Roatan Charter.  The Resort Destination is Belize Dive Haven, Turneffe Atoll, Belize.

For more information contact:
Gene Muchanski, Dive Travel Specialist
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Email: gene@diveindustry.net
Web: www.diveindustry.net 



Posted in Adventure Travel, FAM Trips | Leave a comment

Group Discount at Eden Beach Resort Bonaire

Eden Beach Resort Bonaire
Group Travel Packages

Eden Beach Resort Bonaire is currently offering groups 5% OFF dive packages with our onsite dive shop Wannadive.  Price starts at just $689 per person based on quad occupancy.

Package Includes

  • 7 nights’ accommodations
  • 6 days UNLIMITED shore diving
  • 7 day rental vehicle (without insurance)
  • Daily breakfast
  • Nitrox
  • Wi-Fi
  • Rinse tanks & lockers available 24/7
  • * Reduced group comps for every 7 paid divers / 8th is FREE
  • * Comps responsible for taxes
  • * Option to add on boat dives & meals
  • * Some restrictions apply

To take advantage of this special book before June 15th
Call: 805-228-4644 or 781-821-4243
or Email: Jen@travelmarketing.com

Posted in Press Release, Travel Destinations, Travel Special | Leave a comment

Adaptive Diving at Turquoise Bay Resort, Roatan

Adaptive Diving Association offering a “Once in a Lifetime” opportunity for Adaptive SCUBA Divers

“Adaptive Freedom Dive”

On September 28th, 2019, an incredible group of Adaptive SCUBA Divers (amputees, spinal cord injured individuals) trained by Adaptive Diving Association with their experienced volunteers will be arriving at the Island of Roatan located in the Western Caribbean Islands to experience adaptive diving the island as to offer!

This dive trip has been made possible by both Turquoise Bay Resort & Roatan Charter through their sponsorship, assistance and generosity which enabled our adaptive divers, their caregivers, along with our dive & volunteer staff to afford to participate.

Turquoise Bay Resort has made great strides to accommodate mobility challenged individuals by renovating their facility to improve accessibility to their rooms and other facilities. They are actively seeking to provide individuals with adaptive needs the opportunity to enjoy the sport of SCUBA diving and other activities at their resort.

For more information, press only:

PR Contact: Kenneth J. Hoser, Exec. Director of Adaptive Diving Association

Phone number: 832-232-3483

Email: adaptivedivingassociation.gmail.com

Website:  www.adaptivedivingassociation.org


Posted in Press Release, Travel Destinations | Leave a comment

Editorial – June 2019

Build Your Own “Circle of Influence” – 
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

I’ve been in the diving industry all my life.  What’s more important to you is that I’ve been in the Business of Diving all my life.  Now, with almost 50 years in the trade behind me,  I am using my education and experience to help diving businesses gain and keep a competitive edge in this small, and sometimes declining, competitive market.  And do you know what?  It’s easier than you think.  The market is there.  You just have to know how and where to look.

The Dive Industry Association sells Membership in our Trade Association.  That is the only thing we have in common with the other agencies and associations.  We are far different and we are better at what we do for our Members.  For a small annual fee, our Members are joining an industry network that focuses on their success, not on their patronage.  Our Members are our Members, not our customers.  We don’t charge them an annual fee for the privilege of buying products from us.  Your annual dues are spent on marketing tools that bring you more customers so you can do what you do best – sell diving equipment, training and travel products. As soon as that sinks in, you will owe it to yourself and your business to find out more.

Allow me to give you a quick blast as to how and why that is important to you.  In the past 50 years, I’ve worked for a major Training Agency, two of the best Equipment Manufacturers, and a number of Travel companies.  I worked in Dive Retailing for ten years and owned my own store for seven of them.  As you know, I’ve been very active in Trade Associations, Non-Profits, and Dive Media for my whole career.  I’ve seen business relationships from different view points and I know all about each sectors’ private Circles of Influence and I know how and why they were created.  I learned about business at major Universities and gained experience at applying sales and marketing concepts inside and outside of the diving industry.  I admit that I am very opinionated when it comes to the Business of Diving because of my personal environment, education and experience, but I have always been open to new or different ways of doing things.  Old Dog – New Tricks.

This editorial cannot cover everything you need to know about the Business of DivingThe core idea to your success is your ability to develop your own Circle of Influence.   It’s based on a number of key assumptions.   1) Support the concept of requiring your business consultants to know the products, know the customer and know the market.  Any thing less does you no good at all.  2) Your success and the success of the industry is based on the sale of diving equipment, training and travel.  3)  The foundation of the diving industry is the full time and part time Industry Professional who works in the business every day.  They are the Dive Retailers and Dive Instructors.  We  call them the Industry Front-Line Ambassadors.  4) The Industry Sectors that benefit the most from the work of these front line ambassadors are the Equipment Manufacturers, Training Agencies and Travel Destinations.  5) The Industry Sectors that need a robust diving economy to survive are the Non-Profit Organizations, Diving Media, Dive Boats, Dive Clubs and Service Providers.  6) Our Industry and Recreation will only grow if people Learn to Dive, Buy Their Gear, Go Diving and Stay Active.

Now – How do we do that?  Each active Dive Industry Professional must create and maintain their own Circle of Influence.  To begin with, each Industry Professional who is teaching diving, selling equipment or selling travel is the center of their own circle of influence.  Every great World Leader has talked about the power of the individual.  If one person can change the world, certainly one person can change the diving industry.  So, draw a circle and put yourself in the center of it.  Next, teach someone to dive or sell someone dive gear, or take someone diving.  Now put that person in your inner circle.  Record their personal contact information in some type of database that you can access and use it to keep in touch with that person all year long.  When you have a new class or new equipment or another trip planned, contact that person and invite them to join you.  You now have a Circle of Influence of one and you are at the center of that circle.  You’re the Leader.  You’re the Boss.  The people in your inner circle are your current customers.  Repeat the process as often as you can this year to grow your circle.

Starting in your second year, you will need to add an Outer Circle for the people who have not purchased from you in 12 months.  The purpose is to keep the people in your inner circle active and identify and work with the people in your outer circle.  The people in your outer circle are now your former customers and your job is to reclaim their business.  Remember that working with former customers is not as difficult or expensive as finding new customers.  They know who you are and they did business with you once.  They very well may again.  It’s all up to you.  You know how to contact them.

You may need help building your Circle of Influence.  The Dive Industry Association can help you prospect for new customers, retain the customers you have, and recapture your former customers.  We can help you with referrals, promotions, marketing and advertising.  We can help you network with the people who matter the most to you.

As an Active Dive Industry Professional you now have a Circle of Influence that you are in the center of.  I can speak from experience when I say that you are now a force to be reckoned with.  Equipment Manufacturers, Training Agencies and Travel Destinations all want to know how big your Circle of Influence is.  The bigger it is, the more in demand you become.  The big equipment brands will want your business, the certification agencies will want your certs and the travel destinations will want you to book group trips with them.  I know that when we take travel buyers on FAM Trips, we are always looking for the major players who book group trips.  Now that could be you.

Let’s digress a minute.  We talked about you being in the center of your own circle of influence.  Do you know what the opposite of that is?  YOU being in the circle of someone else’s Circle of Influence !!!  That may be OK if you are an active Diver with no circle of your own, but as a Business Person, the more influence you have, the less you pay, the more your make and the more you have to negotiate with.   As a Business Person myself, the best thing I can say is:  If you write the checks, you have the power.  When I say power, I mean the power to be in the center of your own Circle of Influence, where you are in charge.  Not in someone else’s inner circle, where you are a customer.

If you have or are working on your own Circle of Influence, I would like to have a conversation with you about the Dive Industry Association.  We can help you break free of Vendor Dependence and help you grow your influence and leadership in the diving industry.  If you are already established and an Industry Leader, we want you on our Team.  We are more interested in helping you sell more diving equipment, training and travel than us selling you products.

For more information, contact Gene Muchanski at gene@diveindustry.net


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Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society 2019 Scholars and Interns

(l to r) Kim Hildebrandt, Neha Acharya-Patel, Joanna Smart, Benjamin Farmer, Kyra Jean Cipolla, Abigail Dias, Elizabeth Hasan (missing: Michael Langhans)

The Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society® introduces its 2019 class of Scholars and Interns.

On April 13, 2019, three new Rolex Scholars and five new interns were presented at the 45th Annual Awards Ceremony of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®, held at the New York Yacht Club in New York City.

Since 1974, the Society has provided firsthand experiences in underwater-related disciplines to young people considering careers in the underwater world. For 45 years, founding partner Rolex has been the Society’s partner in education, with the Society annually selecting three Rolex Scholars – one each from North America, Europe, and Australasia. Each Scholar, working closely with leaders in marine-related fields, spends a year immersed in a wide variety of hands-on activities that further the Scholar’s knowledge and experience of the underwater realm. The range of experiences may include active participation in field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, laboratory assignments, equipment testing and design, photographic instruction, and other specialized assignments. The Scholars receive funding for travel and living expenses during their Scholarship year.

(l to r) Kim Hildebrandt, Joanna Smart, Neha Acharya-Patel

The 2019 Rolex Scholars are:

Neha Acharya-Patel is the 2019 North American Rolex Scholar

Kim Hildebrandt is the 2019 European Rolex Scholar

Joanna Smart is the 2019 Australasian Rolex Scholar



In addition to the scholarship program, since 1995, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society has offered a variety of experience-based internships that are 1 to 3 months in length. Internship recipients receive an educational grant to help fund travel to and from the internship site, room and board, and a stipend to cover living expenses. The sponsor organizations that host the internships are leaders in their fields.

(l to r) Benjamin Farmer, Elizabeth Hasan, Kyra Jean Cipolla, Michael Langhans, Abigail Dias

The 2019 Interns are:

Kyra Jean Cipolla – Dr. Lee H. Somers American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diving Internship

Abigail Dias – Divers Alert Network (DAN) Diver’s Safety Education Internship

Benjamin Farmer – Dr. Jamie L. King Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) Marine Conservation Internship

Elizabeth Hasan – American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship

Michael Langhans – National Park Service Research Internship


To learn more about each of the Scholars:
visit:  https://www.owuscholarship.org/scholarships/current

To learn more about each of the Interns:
visit:  https://owuscholarship.org/internships

For more information about the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society: visit:  www.owuscholarship.org


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