Local Diving Summit Coming to TEXAS!
by Rick Stratton
Publisher/ Event Director
Dive News Network Media Group
Texas scuba divers will get a chance to speak about and promote local diving this January. In conjunction with the Texas Dive Show, a Local Diving Summit will be held in Frisco/Dallas on Friday, January 22. The Summit offers industry leaders, dive shop owners, operators, dive club personnel and divers a chance to address the problems facing the industry with respect to local diving.
According to co-organizer, Gene Muchanski, from the Dive Industry Foundation, “Local diving is losing its appeal to divers. Dive store owners and dive club leaders find it difficult or nearly impossible to fill a local dive boat or trips to the local lake/river. Dive charter operators are finding it hard to fill local trips as a greater percentage of divers travel to dive, making it more difficult for operators to restore health to their businesses” said Muchanski.
Muchanski and co-leader, DNN publisher Rick Stratton will co-host the LD Summit as part of a national campaign called Dive Local. According to Stratton, “a regional Local Diving Summit gives local dive leaders, dive store owners, managers, dive instructors, dive club leaders and dive charter operators an opportunity to discuss the status of local diving. This is a chance for the local diving community to recognize the problems, and work collectively and cooperatively to solve the root causes. The industry must resolve this issue to keep divers more active, sell more equipment and certifications, and create greater opportunities for divers to stay involved in the sport between vacation dive trips.” explained Stratton.
The Summit will be approximately 3 hours in length and include introductions and keynote speakers addressing the problems facing the promotion of local diving. Already slated to speak are William Cline, Marketing Consultant and DEMA board member, Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA, Eric Peterson, Scubapro Sales Representative, and Jennifer Idol, first woman to dive in all 50 states, along with additional local operators, dive store owners and community leaders all with a vested interest in seeing divers participate more locally.
Following the keynotes, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in break-out sessions guided by community leaders from dive centers, dive clubs, boat operations and others. Community leaders will keep these sessions on task and positive. Each group will discuss the industry from their own perspective to help determine the issues causing a decline in local diving and brainstorm what might be done help create value for diving locally. Suggestions and ideas will be compiled and prioritized, and Stratton, Muchanski and others have volunteered to assist local leaders to follow through on these ideas, creating an action plan that can be incorporated into Dive Local. To implement that action plan and evaluate the success or failure of any actions at the next annual meeting, quarterly newsletters will be sent to all local industry members to keep them informed as to the progress of members of the group.
According to Stratton, “this kind of thing has been done before… The industry gathers, talks about the issues, complains, somebody takes notes, but nothing happens… This time it needs to be different. Come prepared to be honest, take responsibility and take action to help the situation. We will help you. We are all part of this industry and what happens to one of us – affect us all. If we do not work together, then surely we will not be working at all. At least not in this industry… Let’s do this!” – Rick Stratton