Operators celebrate a good year and look ahead with new dive packages and products
Cayman’s dive industry shored up business for 2015 and thanked travel partners for their support during a solid 2014 at the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) trade show in Las Vegas last month. Red Sail Sports, Sunset House and Divetech joined the Department of Tourism and others to promote Cayman’s exceptional diving and top-notch hospitality industry at the Cayman Islands pavilion. Southern Cross Club’s Neil van Niekerk was there to represent the Sister Islands. The Cayman section was located in a prime spot near some big names in diving so it enjoyed good traffic during the international dive show.
“We booked a lot of business the first two days – by 10:10 a.m. on the first day we already had our first group booked,” said Sunset House General Manager Keith Sahm. “We were very happy with DEMA, which is the largest scuba show in the world, so this is where we needed to be to show off Cayman’s world class diving.”
Red Sail Sports introduced a new Go Pro video camera program for next year and the dive company also launched a new Referral Program for U.S. dive shops. Sales and Marketing Manager Sarah-Jane Whitehill said both were well received, generating buzz at the show for the new products.
“The show is a great opportunity for us to network with existing partners and meet potential new clients,” she said. “We also keep up with the latest developments in the industry by attending educational seminars and social events.”
DEMA was also a time to celebrate the end of a good year for tourism in the Cayman Islands. The latest statistics from the Department of Tourism show a 12% jump in the number of stay over visitors to the Cayman Islands. Dive operators say 2014 is closing out as a solid year for business and they anticipate a busy 2015. Divetech was also celebrating a special award from the Cayman Islands for its conservation efforts. Owner Nancy Easterbrook missed the show’s opening day because she was still on Grand Cayman receiving the Governor’s Corporate Conservation Award.
“Divetech was very pleased and humbled to have received the Conservation Corporate Award of the year, it’s a great honor, and of course the recognition for the sustainable efforts is extremely rewarding,” said Easterbrook. “We were in great company and it’s exciting to see all of the businesses that are really working hard to make a difference on reducing impacts on our oceans and planet… it’s heart warming.”
Ocean conservation is a critical concern for DEMA members worldwide and the show hosted several seminars on the subject. Cayman representatives also had the opportunity to hear from industry experts on topics that included dive safety and marketing. Alongside the show exhibits, industry manufacturers demonstrated new dive gear and photography equipment.
“The DEMA show is our major business to business show,” said Director of Tourism Rosa Harris in a video statement from the show. “We are here to ensure we shore up business for 2015 and continue to maintain key dive relationships.”
The Department of Tourism partners with Cayman’s dive operators to promote the destination through a number of events and programs, including hosting the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. Scuba industry pioneers inducted into the hall of fame in October during the inaugural “Legends and Lions” scuba festival stopped by the Cayman pavilion to greet the public and take photos at the Hall of Fame booth. Plans are already in the works for 2015’s scuba celebration.
Liquid Sports announce NEW colours of Hollis F1 LT Fin now in stock
Liquid Sports has announced that the NEW Colours of the Hollis F1 LT fin are now in stock at LS warehouse and ready to ship.
Already available in Grey, the NEW White & Yellow Hollis F1 LT fins have the following features:
• Short blade for easier finning in confined spaces
• Angled strap mounts for comfort & a better transition of power
• Spring heel straps with easy-grip heel tab
• Multiple strap mounting positions for a fine tuned fit
• Vented blade reduces stress while accelerating water over blade
• Generous foot pocket
For more information visit the Liquid Sports website by clicking here.
Diving with…. Luke Inman, Cortez Expeditions
In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…
What is your name?
What is the name of your business?
What is your role within the business?
Owner/Operator & PADI Course Director, Trimix IT
How long has the business operated for?
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
Diving since 1993, Professional Diver since 1996, Instructor Trainer since 2001.
PADI Course Director
PADI Tec Trimix Instructor Trainer
Divers Alert Network (DAN) IT
TDI · IANTD · RAID Technical Instructor
HSE Commercial Diver Part III
What is your favorite type of diving?
All Diving! Love teaching Open Water all the way through to Divemaster and Instructor course, but my absolute favourite is diving with Sea Lions in La Paz. Like jumping into a bath tub with Labrador puppies.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
We have an exclusive adventure boutique, we offer Scuba training from basic open water through to technical diving. We are the only 5 Star PADI IDC Dive Center in La Paz and teach PADI courses to instructor level.
We offer DAN & TDI courses, support for film crews, scientists and CCR divers.
We are renowned for our expeditions, photo & video workshops. We keep our boat to a maximum of 4 or 6 divers ensuring your experience and interactions are intimate and breath taking.
We have Fourth Element & Apeks equipment in our rental fleet and we include computers.
We pride ourselves is being a sustainability leader. Ensuring no single use plastic is used on our boat and our dive practices have no negative effect on the environment. Read about us on Trip Advisor. Cortez Expeditions are the experts on The Sea of Cortez. With over 20 years of experience living and working in La Paz, Cortez Expeditions are not just the exclusive boutique dive centre, they are the chosen expedition leaders and logistic experts for institutions like The BBC Natural History Unit, Netflix, Disney, National Geographic Society & Television.
In 2018 we provided production support for Netflix “Our Planet”. In 2019 and 2020 Cortez Expeditions completed the safety and logistics for The BBC’s upcoming Planet Earth 3 Series and National Geographic America Series.
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
Los Islotes the sea lion colony. This is the main reason many scuba divers visit La Paz. We are proud at Cortez Expeditions to be able to say we “wrote the book on Los Islotes”. Our owner and course director Luke Inman published the award winning book “Los Islotes – The Jewel of Espritu Santo”.
Los Islotes is the jewel of the protected area and marine reserve. There are very few locations in the world so close to a big city that allow for wild animal interactions like Los Islotes.
What types of diving are available in your location?
We teach everything from open water to instructor and tec diving with hypoxic trimix. There is something for everyone, but we are most famous for the big stuff…large pelagics that hang out at sea mounts and in open ocean like the mobulas.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
Being a mentor and teacher, I enjoy training all people, giving back to the ocean and to the community. My goal as a teacher is to have students eclipse my achievements. I want students to be better than me.
What is your favorite underwater creature?
Can I give you a top five? Sea Lion, Orca, Octopus, Giant Manta, Sea Otter.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
We are in the process of becoming a Career Development Center for PADI and will be offering nitrox in all our dives and courses.
As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
Like any tourism business the effect of COVID has reduced us down to 10-20% capacity.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
We don’t like the expression “Eco-Tourism”, too many business use the term and in reality they are simply not eco orientated. We strive to be constantly sustainable in our practices. It is always evolving.
Since our inception 8 years ago, donating our time and resources has become an important part of our strategy to be active in our community. We constantly endeavour to ensure we are improving and ensuring our practices are sustainable.
We decided the best way to enrich our community was to give back doing what we do best. We do diver training very well. We are currently the number one listed PADI dive centre on Trip Advisor, we complete more recreational, technical and professional certification than any other dive centre in La Paz.
Every October we open our Scholarship Program. The program is open to local undergraduate and post graduates in La Paz that need scuba training to complete their Tourism or Scientific Studies.
The application process will be from 1st October to 31 January 2021. With awards being given in First Quarter of 2021.
There are Six Scholarships available for 2021.
The scholarships are as follows:
- PADI Open Water through to PADI Rescue
- Technical Diver Training
- Divemaster Training
We will choose two candidates for each Scholarship (Male and Female)
Applicants must meet the prerequisites to enrol on the respective courses. The other prerequisites are:
- Be a legal resident of Mexico (Mexican or with legal immigration status)
- Be 18 years old
- Currently studying at UABCS, CICIMAR, CIBNOR
- Prove Scuba Diving is essential to their studies – Tourism, Marine Research
- Be in the final part of studies.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
Where do I start….? LOL that is a big question!
I see the industry is making some good choices in becoming more sustainable, but it is slow.
The industry needs to start being more business-like and pay its staff a living wage.
We strive and ensure all our staff are paid a good wage to make diving a sensible and good option to other careers.
We need to see more women in diving. Women make better divers than men for a number of reasons.
I would like to see every dive agency ensure every student receives a course quality questionnaire. Once the student has completed the quality questionnaire the certification is issued, not before.
Diving is not a volume business, it is service and training based. For some reason many business owners price structure is based on volume. We need to base pricing on our time and effort.
What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
We have small groups and Sea lions…….
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
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