Diving Vacations: Scuba Diving 101

Following is a sampling of upcoming fam trips, educational opportunities and dive travel resources for agents.

  • A one-day Selling Dive Travel educational conference will be offered again in January in conjunction with DEMA Show 2000, the Dive Equipment & Marketing Association's annual trade show. Scheduled for Jan. 17 in Las Vegas, the conference will explore aspects of selling and marketing dive travel. Eligible agents who attend receive ICTA continuing education units. Check DEMA's Web site at www.dema.org for registration information.
  • Agents can obtain a free e-mail or fax copy of an introductory publication called the "Dive Travel Primer" by contacting the Dive Travel Resources Group via fax or e-mail. The Dive Travel Resources Group, which organizes the one-day conference at the DEMA show, provides an ICTA-accredited course on selling dive travel. Contact the Dive Travel Resource Group at (607) 498-6192, fax (607) 498-6194, e-mail [email protected].
  • Curacao is hosting a three-day mega-fam trip for as many as 300 agents Sept. 1 to 4. The Curacao 500 Travel Expo will feature a one-day trade show, tours of Curacao hotels and attractions and presentations on diving and other tourism highlights.
  • The $125 fee covers three nights' accommodations; airport transfers and transportation to the trade show, receptions and excursions, and welcoming and closing parties.

    For information and registration, agents should contact the World Trade Center in Curacao at (011) 599-9-463-6100, e-mail [email protected], or the Curacao Tourism Board at (800) 270-3350.

  • Every spring the Chicago office of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism offers a Fantasy Fam for agents in the Midwest who want to become certified divers.
  • The four-night trip is to Grand Cayman, where agents complete their open-water certification and spend mornings diving and afternoons touring. Accommodations are at Sunset House, and dive certification is provided by Scuba Schools International (SSI), one of three leading dive certification organizations. Several weeks prior to the fam, participants complete their pool and book work over a weekend at a suburban Chicago dive shop.

    Dates and prices for the Fantasy Fam, which is limited to about 15 agents, have not been finalized for next year, but previous trips have been priced at $275, including air travel from Chicago, accommodations, all but one meal and departure tax. Dive gear rental is extra. Call (847) 678-6446.

  • The Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and New York regional offices of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism have scheduled 10 fam trips for certified divers in August, September, October and November. Additional information is available from the Miami office at (305) 266-2300.
  • Sandals Resorts has added an in-depth training on scuba dive programs at its properties to its travel agent Certified Sandals Specialist (CSS) partnership program. Endorsed by the dive certification organization Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the Sandals Certified Dive Travel Specialist program involves attendance at a free half-day Update '99 class that's designed to help agents develop a niche in dive travel.
  • The class is open to agents who attended a Sandals workshop last year and is geared to all CSS agents, regardless of their experience in dive travel or diving.

    Participation in the Sandals Certified Dive Travel Specialist class entitles agents to receive marketing tools and dive information, to participate in dive fam trips to Sandals and Beaches resorts, and to take a PADI dive certification program at reduced rates. Sandals' Update '99 workshops are held around the country throughout the year. For a schedule, agents may call (800) 487-7324.

  • Nekton Diving Cruises in Fort Lauderdale offers a year-round fam program for agents on a space-available basis. Under the program, agents pay $1,000 to join one of Nekton's week-long live-aboard dive trips in the Bahamas or the waters off Belize.
  • Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas in Miami offers an ongoing fam program at Captain Don's Habitat in Bonaire and Habitat Curacao. Through Dec. 17, the agent price for a superior unit in Bonaire is $186 for three nights, including daily buffet breakfasts and service charges.
  • By the fourth quarter of this year Maduro also plans to introduce a free e-mail newsletter for agents that will include articles on how to get involved in dive travel, items for agents more experienced in selling dive travel, as well as information on dive destinations and travel specials. The dive wholesaler also plans to add a pass-protected section for agents only to its Web site. For more information, contact Maduro by e-mail at [email protected].

  • Several dive wholesalers are planning fam trips for the fall, but had not finalized details at press time. They include: Caradonna Caribbean Tours in Altamonte Springs, Fla., which is planning four or five trips for agents to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao; the Underwater Explorers Society on Grand Bahama, which will operate three or four agent trips, and Island Dreams Travel in Houston, which will offer a fam trip to Belize.
  • Ocean Connection, a dive and adventure wholesaler based in Houston, will pay agents 13% commission on bookings for travel in September and October.
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