MIDE '09 - A dive show growing strong
Contributed by Tim Hochgrebe
For the third time I made it to the Malaysian International Dive Expo (MIDE),
which by now can no longer be called an emerging dive show. Dive shows are generally
not the most exciting events when you prefer to actually BE underwater, but
it this show always offers an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends
in the industry and make new ones and therefore MIDE is certainly proving to
be my favourite show of the year in our region.
Kuala Lumpur is always a fun place to visit. The food is exciting
and the city bustles with cultural attractions, shopping, nightlife and some
of the world's most famous landmarks.
Side shows for me this year included a visit of the KL tower with
its revolving restaurant as well as climbing the 272 stairs into Batu Caves
only minutes away from KL CBD.
As in previous years, MIDE draws on the young, the families, the excitable non-divers
as visitors looking to snatch that great dive show bargain. The show has been
growing significantly each time since its inception 4 years ago and some would
now consider it THE must-go event in the Australasia region.
There was a constant flow of events such as children's drawing competitions,
try -dives in the MIDE pool, talks and prize give-aways to keep visitors entertained
and we would like to congratulate the organisers for keeping this show a FREE
entry event. Exhibitors appreciated the massive stream of visitors and those
who sold their wares at the show were excited about the excellent results at
As an Australian it was sad to see though that only underwater australasia,
the team from Sportdiving magazine, Christmas Island Tourism and (amazingly)
OzBob had booths at MIDE. No dive operators, resorts or live-aboards from Australia
made their way to Kuala Lumpur.
At the underwater australasia booth we were inundated
with questions about diving in Australia. I experienced significant interest
especially in the more unusual diving destinations Australia has to offer, including
Tasmania with its amazing kelp forests, South Australia with its unique leafy
sea dragons and white pointer adventures and even the annual cuttlefish migration
and breeding season in Whyalla.
I believe the industry should take note, that with many new low-cost carrier
routes into Australia it has become a cheap option
not only for Australians to visit South East Asia, but also for tourists from
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere to visit Australia in return.
The Underwater Festival 2010, underwater
australasia's flagship event, which will be held on Christmas Island 24-30 April,
was launched at the show and we were excited to see over 100 people sign up
with their interest to participate.
Some say we need a show like this in Australia and I couldn't agree more, but
it is not an easy feat to establish an event like this in the current economic
climate and with the massive distances that we are faced within our own country.
We will see what the future holds...
Overall, the visitor statistics of MIDE'09 were quite impressive
with close to 7,000 visitors and over 150 booths. The aim for next year is to
break 200 booths and 10,000 visitors and we think Thayalan Kennedy (Kenny) and
his team are well on their way to achieve this. We have certainly already reserved
our booth space to the 2010 show
and I am looking forward to watch the Petronas Twin Towers light up the
Kuala Lumpur night skies again.