‘Tourism Forward’: Growth In Dive Vacations

December 5, 2016

[Part of the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s ‘Tourism Forward’ series]

For centuries, Bermuda has been widely recognised as the shipwreck capital of the Atlantic Ocean and an enchanting playground for scuba divers. Dedicated Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] sales and marketing activities use these realities as selling points to attract visitors.

In the past two years the BTA has coordinated two familiarisation visits specifically to inspire dive vacationers. The most recent scuba “fam trip”, as they’re called, was in September 2016 and focused on divers from Canada.

“In Canada we are not on their radar as far as dive destinations are concerned – they fly over us on the way to Cayman and Cozumel,” said Mark Diel of Dive Bermuda, which has dive excursion locations at Fairmont Southampton and Grotto Bay Beach Resort.

The Canadian group of 20 to visit Bermuda are influencers because they own or manage dive shops back home and offer scuba destination tours for their clients. While in Bermuda the scuba enthusiasts sat in on seminars about the island’s ship wrecks, safety regulations and even suited up to experience diving first hand. They also visited several hotels for a better understanding of lodging options.

Lucy Dunbar, who accompanied the group and promotes diving in the southeast United States and Bermuda, said: “I think the appeal for scuba divers is exploration. Some people are looking for a place that’s different, that not everyone has just been – a location that has great weather, great hospitality, but also has something a little bit unique. That is what should be led with to encourage divers to come here.”

BTA Business Development Manager Christi Tucker uses Bermuda’s scuba assets to attract PADI certified divers to the island in groups. She works on drawing social groups which can be anything from weddings to heritage tours to family reunions. Organising fam trips has proven a valuable strategy.

“Last year October 2015, we facilitated a site visit with about 15 divers,” Ms Tucker said. “Since then we’ve secured five dive groups to the island.

“My objective is to bring them to the island, educate them on our beautiful waters for diving and then in return get business back to the island.”

Last year’s scuba fam trip [or site visit] included scuba influencers from the east coast of the United States. Within a year that trip resulted in about 100 visitors and 200 hotel room nights being booked. The hope is that this year’s trip of Canadians will get similar results from that country because group dive trips net good returns for tourism stakeholders.

Additionally, scuba is an experience consistently promoted to individual travellers who are PADI certified. A video on social media produced last year captured imaginations, leading to a high number of views and shares online. It is partly credited for an increase in scuba excursions for 2016.

“I think it’s fair to say all the dive shops this year have had a good year,” said Mr. Diel.

Watch the Tourism Forward video series online at the BTA’s Vimeo channel. Tourism Forward also airs on cable on Channel 82.

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Comments (4)

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  1. wahoo says:

    Thank you BTA for some good news!

  2. Real Deal says:

    I spoke with a young couple a while back when I was hustling and they asking me where Turtle bay beach was because they wanted look at the diving wreck. I told them as far as i know there are no wrecks off of Turtle bay beach. I told them that to be sure that they should stop one of the old cats in the area that look like Native Americans and ask them. I then asked them why they did not try using one of the tour guilds and they said a lot of the services were a bit to pricey for them. long story short i bumped into a old cat for them and went to Turtle bay to tell then that there are not real wrecks here but if they wanted to see the fish and coral they was looking for the should go to Tobacco bay beach instead.

  3. just wondering says:

    a nice job by the BTA encouraging undeveloped areas of tourism or (more accurately) restoring areas of activity based tourism to where they should be

  4. DDD says:

    Let’s go tek!!!!!