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Good News for Dive Operators:
A Preponderance of Traveling Divers
Will Be Heading Out Before Year’s End

For David Whiteside at dwhite95815@hotmail.com 

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January 31, 2021

Dear Fellow Diver,

Will scuba travel return to normal after the pandemic? Dive operators worldwide are concerned that their dive customers may not return once it is safe to travel, and many are worried that they may not be able to keep their businesses intact. We at Undercurrent wondered ourselves. 

To get a glimpse at the future of dive travel in the next  12 months (as, hopefully, the COVID-19 threat diminishes), we asked our subscribers, the most traveling group of divers in the world, if they will soon be traveling to go diving? And under what circumstances? We also asked the same questions of nonsubscribers on our separate email list.

Subscribers Responses:
How many dive trips would you hope to make in the next 12 months?
The result? Overwhelmingly, divers are eager to get wet. As soon as they can, 85% of those we surveyed will be traveling abroad as frequently as they had in the past.

 

Undercurrent Readers are Ready to Go

Of the 1608 subscribers who responded to our survey, 98% considered themselves to be active divers. Of these, 97% have made more than 100 dives, with 65% having made more than 500 dives. The median age is about 62, with 55% older than 65 (only 10 respondents were under 40). In the past three years, 85% had made two or more overseas dive trips. We’re pleased that 93% say they will get vaccinated, 2% won’t, and 5% remain undecided. (Going through airports, flying, and traveling overseas without being vaccinated is a risk we wouldn’t take.)

Now, the good news for the dive industry: Of the 97% who will continue to make overseas dive trips, 90% of them expect to take a dive trip in the next 12 months (14% percent of these are risk-takers; they will travel even if not vaccinated). Of the remainder, 50% will go only after being vaccinated, 5% more will wait longer to be assured flights and airports are safe, and 11% more will wait until they are assured their host country is safe. Still, 81% percent plan to make as many or more trips than they did in the past.

Subscribers Responses:
Would you expect to resume making at least as many annual trips as you had before?
We also surveyed our email list, which includes many people employed in the dive industry, past Undercurrent subscribers, and divers who have signed up to receive our emails. The profiles of the 1149 respondents who considered themselves active divers were consistent generally with our readers in experience, age, frequency of international dive trips, etc. And their plans are more good news for the industry: 85% plan to travel internationally to dive in the next 12 months, down only 5% from Undercurrent readers.

 

Indeed, divers are a fearless bunch. USA Today reports that 54% of international travelers would be comfortable traveling six months after they are vaccinated. In combining our two surveys, we find that 88% of the responding active divers who travel internationally plan to travel as much as they did once they get their vaccinations. Still, some will delay their trips until they are assured that airports and flights are safe at their destination. For the vaccinated, there remains a small risk of infection (about 5% of the risk for those unvaccinated), and emerging new variants of the novel coronavirus might slow things down.

So, a significant number of traveling divers expect to be back on the road within the year, many making more than a single trip, which will give a real shot in the arm, shall we say, to the foreign dive centers that depend upon American dive travel.

And with that, let’s get vaccinated and go diving. And, to you dive operators out there.  Hang on a little longer.  We're coming back!

Ben Davison, editor/publisher
BenDEditor@undercurrent.org

[These results are available on our website here]


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