Board Unanimously Reaffirms Original Objective to Attract Water Sports Enthusiasts to Recreational Diving
During January 2013, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) announced that it had canceled plans for the Water, Sports and Travel Festival, originally scheduled for spring of 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 2013 DEMA Board of Directors met in late February to review the original intent of the event, the decision to cancel, the financial costs associated with ceasing production and the overall impact to the Association and its stakeholders.
During the meeting the DEMA Board examined and reaffirmed that the original objective of the Festival remain top priority; to reach out to active consumers, particularly water sports enthusiasts and attract them to recreational diving. The Board also agreed that water sports industry partnerships and support generated during Festival planning will be pursued as part of future opportunities. All in attendance recognized the need to grow the industry and reach beyond the current customer base.
According to Stephen Ashmore, DEMA Board President, “The decision to cancel the event was one of the most difficult decisions made by the standing board and did not come without significant consideration, including financial concerns for the Association and the DEMA Board’s desire to reach non-divers to help grow the Diving Industry.”
The production of a consumer event such as the Festival includes many costs; reserving hotels and convention space, acquiring sponsors, attracting exhibitors, and promotional expenses to reach non-diving attendees. At the end of 2012 the Board was faced with the possibility that dive industry participation might not be sufficient to cover the actual cost of Festival production and that the Festival might not meet the expectation of currently contracted exhibitors. With payment deadlines looming, including increases of more than $30,000 in cancellation fees, and with concern regarding exhibitor notification, and returning sponsor funding already acquired, the Board made the decision to cease production of the Festival. A complete cost recap can be found in the member section of the DEMA website.
DEMA sincerely appreciates the support of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and their generous fee reductions following cancellation. DEMA is also grateful to those in the Dive Industry community who backed and believed from the beginning in the purpose of the Festival. As discussed in DEMA’s 2020 Vision Sessions, reaching out to non-divers to grow the Industry remains a top priority. DEMA’s Board has reaffirmed that the Association will continue exploring ways to meet this goal.