The Cayman Islands is considered one of the world’s premier dive destinations.
In order to stay that way, a lot of work goes on to keep Cayman’s marine world in the minds of divers.
That was the focus of Steve Tippetts, who represented Divetech and the Cayman Islands at a major conference in Birmingham, England in October.
“Eurotek is a bi-annual European conference for technical diving,” Mr. Tippets said.
“It has a partnering event called Oztek in Australia in the intervening years, so it bounces between the two hemispheres.” The divemaster said that his trip was intended to promote technical diving in the Caribbean and to change people’s perspectives, particularly in the United Kingdom market. Often, said Mr. Tippetts, the Red Sea was the first place people thought of in that context, but that is erroneous.
“Technical diving is predominately about rebreathers, deeper diving involving mixed gases, the double-tank twinsets and so on. Of course, we were not turning away recreational interests. The idea was to get people aware of and interested in the Cayman Islands,” he said.
There were high profile speakers at the event and between presentations, various training agencies and equipment manufacturers set up in booths to show off their wares. So we decided at Divetech to offer the technical diving vacation spot.
“One of the differences between Eurotek and other dive shows is that as people pay a lot more to register at Eurotek, by default you have a much more serious diver.
“A lot of people kind of knew where Cayman was on a map, but had the misconception that it was beyond their budget, a long way away and full of banking. Part of it was to show that direct flights from the UK, plus the exchange rate make it attractive,” said Mr. Tippetts.
Face to face
Don McDougall of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism office in the UK said that it was important to continue to keep diving in people’s minds both in the general sense and the niche opportunities, such as technical diving.
“The schools that offer technical diving and the nature of the walls, our pristine water conditions that we have make it attractive to people who go to Eurotek.
“But we need the professional technical divers to be there and meet, face to face, the individuals who come to these events. That was the whole purpose of doing this; it gave us a great opportunity to address that audience,” he said.
He said the tourism department may not have gone to the show were it not for the collaboration with Divetech, which has the contacts in terms of equipment producers.
“These guys are so serious that they want to speak to the people who know everything about the technical diving scene right down to the nuts and bolts and that is why it was so important to have Steve Tippetts over.
“At an event where you get several hundred hardened followers of technical diving and we were only one of two destinations there you stand out. Everyone else was promoting specific pieces of equipment and we were promoting being able to use this in the Cayman Islands. We also had information in the delegate packs and the organiser has even been hosted at Divetech.”