London International Dive Show fights off threat from rival show

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The organiser behind the London International Dive Show has dismissed concerns the event will decline following the loss of its headline member association and the launch of a rival show in 2011.  As reported in EN, Dive Magazine will launch the new Big Scuba Show at London Olympia from 19 to 20 February 2011 after gaining the backing of UK member association, British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). The association previously maintained a contract with rival publication, Diver Magazine, to run the annual London International Dive Show (LIDS), which expired this year.  LIDS exhibition manager Richard Thompson said it would now focus energies on working with a broader range of global industry associations including US-based Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). “We’re now able to work with a range of associations and have a broader mix than we could previously,” he said. Diver Magazine has 115 exhibitors on-board so far for its upcoming event at Excel London from 26 to 27 March 2011, which is expected to reach 200. Thompson believed that was double those booked into its rival. The sister Dive Show in Birmingham attracts about 300 exhibitors annually. Thompson claimed the Big Scuba Show’s aggressive sales strategy had “limited” success but was adamant it couldn’t attract the same number of exhibitors or paying visitors. LIDS 2010 attracted 12,000 paid visitors in 2010 and is expected to exceed 14,000 this year. Thompson also pointed out the headline sponsor for the Big Scuba Show, the Egyptian Tourism Board, had booked a stand at LIDS.“The market in the UK isn’t big enough to warrant two London dive shows within six weeks of each other,” he said. “While we are aware of the other show, we’re not focused on what they’re doing – we’re working on the strength of what we have built.” Among new show features planned for LIDS 2011 is a conference programme targeting advanced divers with technical educational and training sessions. An Asia Pacific showcase, LIDS 2011 Photo Zone, charity auction for PADI’s Project Aware initiative and PADI presentation theatre are other new additions. Thompson said the next event will again include a try-dive pool and British diving feature.Diver Magazine will continue to work with the BSAC for its Birmingham show, Thompson added.
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