Beginning in 2021, DEMA Show will switch its staging day format to Tuesday through Friday, according to Tom Ingram, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association’s executive director.

In what has become an annual tradition at DEMA Show, DeeperBlue.com sat down for a brief chat with the extremely busy Ingram to talk about the state of the dive industry as a whole, future potential show locations and other topics.

On the dive industry as a whole, here’s what Ingram had to say about open-water diver certifications:

“It’s actually declined a little bit in the U.S. but it’s increased in other parts of the world, so we’re seeing more and more in Asia. China is blowing up.”

“In the U.S. . . . the diving industry is a lagging indicator of the economy so when the economy gets better, it usually takes anywhere between six months to two years in the U.S. at least for it to catch up and start coming back up. We’ve gone through some really tough economic times. We saw the certifications dropping off, I’d like to think that that drop of about 1 percent in the third quarter is a good indicator that we’ve bottomed out and started to come back up, but we’ll see.”

On overall convention attendee numbers, Ingram spoke about the attendance difference between holding the show in Las Vegas versus Orlando:

“It’s really interesting, it is a difference of who attends, it’s not really different on the numbers, so you’re really getting people from the west side of the United States and also from Asia when we’re in Las Vegas, and you’re getting people from Europe and the Eastern Seabord when we’re in Orlando and who knows what’s gonna happen in New Orleans [in 2020].”

As for the number of walk-up attendees compared to last year in Orlando, Ingram said:

“We had about 200 walk-ups on Tuesday, i.e. people who had not preregistered, and we had another 75 or 80 yesterday, so we’ll see what happens. It will decline as we get further in, but on Saturday the attendance numbers drop off because a lot of people finish up after the third day and are headed back home for the weekend. And it’s one of the reasons why we’ve changed the staging day format that we’re gonna start in 2021: Instead of a Wednesday to Saturday it’s gonna be Tuesday to Friday. So we will move that and it will stay that way as long as it continues to work for us, but we do see a lot of walk-ups, especially in Florida on Saturday and we actually have a one-day pass that’s only good on Saturday so those folks that are in the area but can’t make it because of whatever job they have, if they want to come in on Saturday this is the time to do it.”

As for planning for New Orleans in 2020, Ingram said:

“It’s going great. All of the preparations are beginning to fall into place. As you know we’re working three years out, so we’ve contracted for 2020 and also 2023 for New Orleans . . . we’ve only gone out as far as 2023 right now in our contracts for convention center space but this will be the year where we start mounting back up to see what the next — 2024 and on down the line, as long as New Orleans works out for everybody and everybody’s happy with it then we’ll continue to keep it in the rotation for the third city but we’ll also look at other cities because what we want to try to do is to make the experiences as good for the attendees and the exhibitors as we can, and as inexpensive as we can because . . . we want to be able to get them the businesses that they need without breaking the bank, and it’s tough to do; convention centers are expensive and labor and unions and all those other things all add into it and we continue to scope it out and in fact we have an annual report that just was put out this morning. In it, we explain why we select the cities and how we select the cities that we do, so it’s all in there.”

So the current DEMA Show schedule is as follows:

2019 – Orlando
2020 – New Orleans
2021 – Las Vegas (first year Tuesday-Friday)
2022 – Orlando
2023 – New Orleans

Check out DeeperBlue.com’s comprehensive coverage of DEMA Show 2018 here.

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John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.

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