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Cayman Showcases it’s World Class Diving

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As it does every year, the Cayman Islands had a good presence at the annual Dive Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) convention, this year held in Orlando, FL November 4 – 7, 2015. The recognized birthplace of recreational diving in the Caribbean is home to a progressive dive industry that prides itself in helping set the standard for the dive industry world-wide. The three islands, with crystal clear water, spectacular reefs and abundant marine life, feature some of best diving in the world − each island offering different experiences to divers of all skill levels. Cayman dive leaders aggressively work together to keep the Cayman dive product fresh, and their efforts pay off with numerous awards for Best Overall Dive Destination in the Caribbean and Atlantic.

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DEMA is the place to introduce new products and book business for the new year, and the dive travel industry is set to scoop up deals and special offers from world-wide destinations.

“It was an exciting DEMA for Divetech, with our new dive and room package offerings, we were very interested to see how the trade received the options and were very pleasantly surprised!” said Joanna Mikutowicz, Divetech Managing Partner. “It was great to meet new dive shops, plus reconnect with manufacturers and training agencies, and connect with old friends. We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead; the new sea pool at Lighthouse Point is already being discovered by many.”

Red Sail Sports introduced a new Kittiwake Wreck Anniversary Dive Package for 2016 that sparked a lot of interest and generated bookings on the spot.

“We had a great DEMA this year and even took bookings at the show with the help of our new reservation system,” said Sarah-Jane Harlan, Red Sail Sports Sales and Marketing Manager. “We are in the middle of completing the biggest upgrade of our reservations system we have ever undertaken and will be rolling out to our online booking engine in the next few weeks.”

49685656-c236-46be-9cfa-f6bfddd6c858Ocean Frontiers introduced an impressive new booth showcasing the stunning marine life and scenery of Grand Cayman’s East End. The company released a new 4K Ultra HD format video of marine life encounters in 2015 and offered a $500 airfare credit for groups that booked at the show. But the promotion that drew the biggest attention was the “Egg & Bacon” hour when Broadbelt and team donned costumes and handed out “Egg & Bacon” sugar cookies to announce a new breakfast service at the Compass Point Dive Resort.

“Commencing in January, the restaurant at the resort is serving breakfast – until now they have only served lunch and dinner,” said co-owner Steve Broadbelt. “This is welcomed news for our visiting dive groups who have frequently asked us to offer breakfast even though the rooms all have full kitchens, or kitchenettes, and we are very happy to be rolling out this service for 2016.”

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) was also there during the four-day event to share special news and promotions, and release details of next year’s International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame inductees. The ISDHOF has been recognizing dive industry pioneers since its inception in Grand Cayman fifteen years ago.

The Cayman Islands Pavilion, located in a prime spot near the main entrance and registration area, was the site for a number of events. Also on display at the pavilion were historical dive artifacts from the Cayman Islands.

The Department of Tourism also marked the anniversaries of two famous Cayman dive sites and artificial reefs; the ex-USS Kittiwake in Grand Cayman and the MV Captain Keith Tibbetts in Cayman Brac. Kittiwake, a former submarine rescue ship will celebrate its fifth anniversary in January of 2016 and the MV Keith Captain Tibbetts, the only diveable Russian warship in the Western Hemisphere, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September of 2016.

DEMA serves as a good launching point for the 2016 tourism season, and all indications point to a good year for Cayman’s dive industry. Keith Sahm, General Manager of Sunset House says they booked good business for next year, though he faced a lot of questions about the cruise ship dock project that has been approved by the Cayman Islands Government.

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“Our customers love Cayman, but they are concerned about the project and its potential impact on George Town Harbour. It was an overriding factor in our DEMA experience this year,” he said.

Rosa Harris, Director, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) says they are optimistic for 2016 because the number of stay-over visitors to the Cayman Islands is up from last year. With increased airlift from key US cities and 226 additional rooms because of the reopening of a Cayman Brac resort and the addition of a new resort on Grand Cayman, Cayman is poised for growth.

“The Department of Tourism continues to work with our on-island partners through various marketing and promotion efforts to aid in the increase of stay-over arrivals, which is the mandate for the department,” says Harris.  “Additionally, we launched new dive focused social media and digital media programs in 2015 to support traditional dive marketing channels.”

The Sister Islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, had their own booth in the Cayman pavilion. “DEMA was great this year – it provided an opportunity to reconnect with clients and past Sister Islands dive shop personnel. New business contacts were made and at least two business operators who had not been to DEMA in a few years participated this year,” says Chevala Burke, CIDOT Marketing and Promotions Manager for the Sister Islands. “The Sister Islands Tourism Association debuted its much-anticipated Cayman Brac Shore Diving Booklet, which is now available for sale on island.  I love sharing information on our islands with people who have never been to the Caribbean or Cayman Islands before. We look forward to seeing them when they arrive on island and making their vacation an unforgettable one.”

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Rowen Hemsley-Harding, third place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Rowen Hemsley-Harding, third place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition. The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Rowan’s film – Ocean Art and Facts – can be seen here:

Fourth in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week we will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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News

NUPG Lockdown Best of…

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Usually the January NUPG meeting involves a guest judge coming to Manchester to talk through the very best images members had taken in the previous 12 months. However, this year, due to COVID19 restriction many of the members had not had the chance to dive. The NUPG committee decided to change the rules a little. So this year members judged a series of Best of the Century images online and were also invited to take part in a lockdown underwater bath tub category.

There were five categories for members to enter. Here are the winners of each…

British and Irish Close Up

Octopus in St Abbs Marine Reserve by Mike Clark

British and Irish Wide Angle

A Basking Shark off the coast of Cornwall by Nick Robertson-Brown

Overseas Close Up

A squid at night in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia by Ken Byrne

Overseas Wide Angle

Hammerhead Sharks in the Red Sea by Justin Beevor

Under Bath Water

Lockdown fun in the tub by Caroline Robertson-Brown

The next NUPG meeting will be held on Monday 8th February and the guest speaker is John Bantin.

For more information on the NUPG please visit their website by clicking here.

Header image: Lionfish hunting in the Red Sea by John Spencer

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Competitions

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Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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