Posted by Ken Kurtis on August 10, 2001 at 06:13:15:
We got into discussing numbers a whiloe back, specifcally PADI's, and it was pointed out that their website claims some 964,000 divers annually (though it's not clear whether that's worldwide - which I asume it is, and whether it covers all cert levels - which I assume it does, and whether it includes non-cert intro and resort courses - which I also believe it does.)
I saw the following in the PADI Journal, 3rd Quarter 2001 (breaking wave on the cover), page 10, lower left, in an article written by Hilary Viders about eco-diving. It says:
"No numbers exist on how many divers prefer ecotourist trips. But there are four million active scuba divers worldwide and probably many more snorkelers. This skin and scuba population has grown approxiamtely 15 percent over the last 13 years, with around 250,000 new scuba divers certifified every year."
(FYI, the general industry and DEMA claim is that there are 2.5 million active US divers.)
Rather than turn this into a PADI-bashing thread, I personally find it interesting that there's such disparagy in the numbers (almost 700,000 - or close to three years' worth, according to Viders' numbers.) I also find it interesting that both numbers come from official PADI sources.
I also find it interesting that it seems Viders is quoting 250,000 new divers as a WORLDWIDE number, which would make the number of new US divers far less. (You may remember that a week or so agao, based on some confidential info, I estimated the number of new US divers annually at around 250,000.)
To me, it further underscroes the fog in which our industry continues to operate because we just don't accumulate or publish reliable data. It makes it harder for the retailer, the mfgs, the cert agenecies, and everyone associated with our sport from a business standpoint. Personally, I think the real reason we, as an industry, don't push harder for good numbers, is that we're afraid they'll be woefully small.
To give you perspective on some numbers we DO know, the annual scuba industry, based on sales through dive shops (so it excludes travel not booked through stores but includes travel through stores, local trips, classes, and sales & service) is around $600 million. The annual sales figures for Easter specialty candy is estimated at $900 million. The sales of Ping Pong balls is estimated at somewhere around $1.4 billion. (The first number comes from Leisure Trends & DEMA, the others from the Small Business Administration.)
Anyhow, thought you all might be interested. The heat is actually breaking here is New York and I'm going out to play golf.
The Vacationing Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, Ca.
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