DEMA Show 2022 was held in Orlando, Florida, USA, on 1-4 November. This show was the first regular edition in three years due to the pandemic, the effects of which were still felt.
After two years of disruption because of the pandemic, DEMA Show was back in gear. Well, largely. It was still markedly more compact than the pre-pandemic editions but still a large show with far more booths than one could reasonably manage to visit during its four days. Also importantly, the mood appeared to be upbeat, with businesses eager to ramp up activities as the industry and travel activities pull away from the doldrums.
That said, a lot of important players and regulars were missing. Most notably, most of the larger equipment brands had given this show a pass, and that was probably the biggest single factor for the smaller number of booths this time, as each of the big brands usually take out big islands. I was informed by the show organisers that around 850 booths were sold, which I take as booth units (and not the number of exhibiting entities), compared to around 1,200 in a "normal" year; they were pleased with the result under the circumstances.
Personally, I was quite disappointed by the big brands’ decision not to take part and support the community that constitutes the ecosystem upon which they depend and from which they derive their revenue. I appreciate that participation in the expo is quite an expense, but it is also an investment and a statement. In any case, their absence left me with the sentiment that the big brands copped out exactly when they needed to step up to the plate.
For perhaps the same reason, there was not much to be seen regarding new dive equipment or developments, but a couple of interesting inventions were on display, which we feature in our Equipment section. It was more of a travel show this time around.
Another factor that sprang to mind is the major economic impact the pandemic has had on many industry members, with a number going outright out of business and many others being cash-strapped after haemorrhaging money. Anecdotally, I also noticed a widespread excitement that next year's show is going to be held in New Orleans for a change, and this factor may have played a role among those who decided to sit this one out.
All that being said, we were quite pleased with the event and the results of our efforts at the expo. Plenty of dormant business was reawakened, and prior clients came aboard again, along with several new clients. It is also always nice to meet new people.