Hotel group plans information blitz to attract affluent divers
Caribbean hotels and dive operators are now pitching undersea adventure to affluent tourists in a bid to snag a bigger piece of the multimillion-dollar dive market
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, CHTA, recently struck up a partnership with the Diving and Equipment Marketing Association, DEMA, to push dive tourism in the region.
CHTA president Karolin Troubetzkoy says they hope to hook divers with adequate information on where to locate diving sites in the region. DEMA has agreed to promote the locations on its website.
Noting that diving sites and reefs in Florida alone generate more than US$300 million annually, Troubetzkoy told the Financial Gleaner that divers tend to be "affluent consumers, dedicated, active people that love the water and want to care for it in every way."
She adds that the regional diving market has the potential to generate revenue on a scale similar to Florida.
"Part of the reason DEMA and CHTA are so keen about the newly inked MOU is the opportunity to benchmark the data on the value of diving tourism in this part of the world," the CHTA president said.
The CHTA indicated this week that Jamaica ranks as the fifth most visited diving location in the Caribbean, in DEMA's latest survey conducted among 13,000 active scuba divers from the United States.
Jamaica is outranked as a diving destination by The Bahamas the Cayman Islands, Bonaire, and the US Virgin Islands, respectively. Rounding out the top ten are Aruba, Curacao, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Bermuda.
The CHTA president, herself, is from St Lucia, where she markets and oversees the operations of the Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet resorts, sister properties owned by the Troubetzkoy family. She is also president of the St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, since 2010.
The CHTA's primary strategy to attract divers, Troubetzkoy said, is targeted data-driven messaging.
"Benchmark studies will help with the growth target and meet the needs of member organisations. One strategy is to reach potential consumers in the US, the largest single diving market in the world. DEMA has access to data about potential consumers throughout the US, and can help reach these consumers using proven social media-based methodologies," she said.
The messaging and advertising packaged for the site - www.godivenow.com - guides prospective consumers to a dive vacation finder and to dive stores located near their homes. It also offers explanations on what to expect in learning to dive, the equipment, and the activities in which divers engage.
"Diving is great in so many areas of the Caribbean that choosing a specific location often depends on time to travel, hotel and dive operation availability and other factors that are determined by the consumer," Troubetzkoy said.