Is Scuba Diving Declining?

You may already have an idea about the status of scuba diving amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you want to know how bad the pandemic has affected the dive industry, here are some thoughts that can help you assess the current situation.

A bad shape for dive resorts

As opposed to popular belief that local dive shops still have a local clientele due to the term origin locations, dive resorts are actually situated where the only clients are tourists.

The scuba diving industry stakeholders badly hurt are the dive resorts. In fact, in a forecast done by Oxford Economics, the levels reached in 2019 will not happen again until 2024. This is actually bad news for dive boat operators and even worse for dive professionals.

Local diving revived

Lots of local and inland diving have been revived in various locations all over the world during the pandemic. In fact, scuba diving operators experienced a boom in the local scuba diving business.

Moreover, the drop in domestic tourism was much less significant compared to international travel, which eventually came to a halt. Due to local scuba diving activities in Florida and Hawaii, good local ocean diving has been recorded.

Thus, there should be an increase in scuba certifications in these areas particularly because Americans are jumping on a road trip within the country instead of spending time overseas.

Core divers versus casual divers

According to a report by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, a decline in diving participation has been noticed in 2020 among casual divers. However, there is an increase among core divers despite the overall drop of 4.7% in that same year.

As a matter of fact, the participation rate of core divers has increased by 1.3% compared to data from 2019, which is still an increase nonetheless.

The numbers don’t lie

Despite all the positive outlook seen in the dive industry, a number of market surveys conducted by the Dive Center Business Magazine show international dive travel programs were shut down during 2020.

These were actually a significant revenue driver for the months within fall and winter. Nevertheless, sales were reported to be above normal for about one-third of American local dive centers in 2020. This led over 20% of local dive shop owners to wonder if their business would survive the current crisis.

The future of scuba diving industry

The current pandemic is indeed an obstacle for the scuba diving industry all over the world. But it is important that key players in the industry should survive or thrive amid the crisis by eventually learning how to adapt.

Moreover, the dive industry needs to redesign the business processes and marketing strategies in the dive industry in order to serve the younger generations with expectations and aspirations different from current aging male baby boomers.

The dive industry is too dependent on them, which may not give much hope. The time to serve the younger generations will come but the aging male baby boomers might still be a significant factor in 2021 and 2022.


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