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May 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 35, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Tough Times in the Dive Travel Industry

resort and boat owners to tell us how they are managing

from the May, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Even if we manage personally to dodge COVID-19, few of us will escape the financial ramifications of the coronavirus crisis. With more than a hundred countries enforcing travel restrictions, it's not just losing of money we might have laid out on trips: Many people have lost their livelihoods.

With cruise liners docked for months ahead, countries locked down, and far fewer flights, the travel industry has been particularly hit -- and the dive travel industry even more so. Why? Well, when you consider that their income has disappeared, it's apparent that, unlike big corporations, many dive businesses might not be able to weather this storm.

After we spoke with Peter Hughes, a previous leader among liveaboard operators, who expressed the thought that he was happy to get out of the travel industry when he did, Undercurrent wrote to some of the dive centers and liveaboard operators in the remoter parts of the world to ask how they were coping. (Peter reckons his old Dancer Fleet partner who now operates MY Galapagos Sky has enough resources to survive and has his fingers crossed for him.)

In La Paz, Baja California, Luke Inman (Cortez Expeditions) told us that his few staff remain and receive their salaries, and meanwhile, he will offer discounted eLearning courses, workshops, and online conferences. James Curtiss (The Cortez Club) was more specific, saying, "As you can imagine, this is not only the worst ever scenario for a traveling scuba diver, but even a worse one for an owner of a dive resort where no one is allowed to travel, nor is there even an indication of when travel will reopen or when travel bans are to be lifted.

"It is my opinion that with being so close to the U.S., this will largely depend on Americans, and I am hoping and optimistic that this will change sometime in mid- to late May 2020. Some centers will suffer more than most and be forced to close their doors and may find ongoing costs too much of a burden to absorb and have no alternative but to declare bankruptcy.

"The sad and unfortunate outcome is that so much fear has been instilled into each and every one of us that we may never see international travel go back to what it was once before by most nations."

Alison Dennis runs a small business out of her island Cozumel home (Scuba with Alison) with two full-time employees and herself. With one boat, two pickups, and an SUV, she owns enough tanks and rental gear to suit up eight divers, the maximum load on her fast boat. She has no debt, she told Undercurrent, but "I do have a financial obligation to pay salaries and the mandatory government medical insurance for my two employees. They also rely on tips to feed their families and dependents."...

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