Rebuilding Local Diving Communities –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional
The COVID-19 Pandemic has given us the opportunity to stop and think about what we do for a living. And for a recreation. With all this time on our hands, Dive Industry Professionals are faced with some hard realities on how to proceed in the future. We know this pandemic is very serious. It’s devastating to the health of our people and it’s devastating to our economy. Without a doubt, this crisis will change the way we live, work and recreate. So let’s deal with it, learn from it and move forward.
I’m a Dive Industry Marketing Professional. Not a Doctor, a Government Health Official or a Politician. World leaders in the medical profession are studying the virus, trying to find treatments and cures for it and are working non-stop to save lives. Organizations like the CDC are recommending precautionary measures for citizens to follow and we should heed their advice. Business organizations like the Small Business Development Centers are helping Entrepreneurs apply for loans, obtain grants and learn how to navigate through this economic nightmare. Even in the diving industry I am seeing encouraging work coming from some of our leading companies. This pandemic will end and hopefully soon. We will get through this and the rest of our lives will be in our hands. It’s time to start planning for the future – a bright future.
In my opinion, the diving industry has and will change forever. I don’t see us getting back to the way it used to be. It will be different and in many, many years hopefully better. Consider this to be our golden opportunity to rebuild the diving industry. For the better.
Over the past sixty years, scuba diving as a recreation grew. Many of our Founding Pioneers have since passed away and a second generation of diving adventurers have picked up where our pioneers left off. I hope they remember what our pioneers did to make the recreation start, grow and succeed because we are at a point in time where we are going to have to rebuild the industry, post COVID-19.
The Dive Industry Association has a plan for rebuilding the diving industry, It’s based on what our early pioneers did in creating the market for our recreation but not making the same mistakes we made in the past twenty years. Our plan is spelled out in our campaign DIVE LOCAL. Scuba diving started out as a local social recreation. Scuba Diving enthusiasts bought or made diving equipment to enjoy the wonders of their local rivers, lakes, quarries and oceans. Being social animals they taught their family and friends how to dive. On Weekends they went diving together – locally. Divers started talking pictures underwater, exploring shipwrecks, and doing some wonderful underwater exploration. As the travel industry matured, divers had more options and oceans to explore. During the off-season divers read scuba diving magazines, joined dive clubs and went to local dive shows and film festivals. As more people took up diving, the sales of diving equipment, training and travel increased. More dive stores opened up, more companies distributed diving equipment and certification agencies grew. Dive travel was introduced and blossomed. Three things started the industry on its decline. The Baby Boom generation got older and new population numbers decreased. The 21st arrived and the industry was still using 20th business tools or none at all. COVID-19 brought the world to an all halt. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully it’s not a train.
We can start rebuilding our industry right now. As we learn to deal with the corona virus and stay safe, let’s rebuild our recreational infrastructure. We start by creating Regional Territories, made up of states, made up of local diving communities. As outlined in our website www.divelocal.org we make Dive Stores the center of each Local Dive Community. Add the Equipment Sales Reps who visit these stores and then the diving equipment companies that reside in these communities. Next we add the Training Agency Sales Reps and the agencies they represent that visit the Retailers. The completion of the first phase of this rebuilding is to add Local Dive Travel Specialists who sell local and extended dive travel. We now have a complete Local Diving Community of Dive Industry Professionals. All that’s left to do is add the Local Divers and we have a complete Local Diving Community.
Our new White Paper, The Rebuilding of Local Diving Communities will spell out, step-by-step how the diving industry can rebuild itself post-COVID-19.
For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.