Chinese Scuba Diving Market

The Chinese Dive market is emerging as one of the world leaders in growth for outbound scuba diving tourism.

Fast Facts, sources referenced.

• The largest dive resort in the world is located in Hainan Island, China. Vogue Diving employs up to 500 dive instructors, and conducts 2,500 resort or DSD courses each day. Tourists are primarily mainland Chinese (source, William Cline)

• PADI issued 28,007 certification in 2013, or a three year 300% growth from 2011 (about 3% of PADI’s global certifications)

• PADI showed 58 dive centers at the beginning of 2014

• 15 dive centers alone are situated in the Southeast Coast of China. Guangdong Province

• Their were 504 professional members in 2012.

• The Chinese Dive Market is calculated to be approx US$12.5 million in size, or approx. RMB 76,839,494.

• A recent Chinese online consumer dive survey was conducted with 760 responses, showing 87% were PADI certified

• The largest diver base is 26 to 35 yo


2017 Student Thesis on Chinese Divers and Suunto Dive Computers: Very Small Sample, but Good Info PDF

•  General Features of Chinese Divers

• Average Age 28.3 Average diving experience 3.1 yrs divers’ typical age group: 25-28, or 32 and above typical diving experience: 1-3 years and 5 years above. This corresponds with the short diving development history in China.

• 76% are male.

• Bachelors Degree and above 83% 22% have experience living abroad.

• Major professions – finance, consulting, business, culture

• Average No. of dives per year 1.4

• About 50% of divers spend more than $1200 on diving equipment

• Only 20% of divers use local manufactured equipment, due to safety concerns

• In 2006, there were over 100 dive clubs, and 20% have more than 100 members

• Four core areas of diver activity: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong/Hainan

•  70% people agree that diving is a fashionable, young, exciting and cool sport

• 2nd largest wealth market in Asia (after Japan) with $1.44 trillion in assets being managed for wealthy people

• 1.59 million households have $500,000 or more in assets under management

• 250 million households have $100,000 to $500,000 in assets under management

• Chinese citizens enjoy a larger than average number of public holidays per year

(source: East West Mice, Focus on Emerging Market: Dive into your “Blue Ocean” in China Presentation @ DEMA Show 2006)

Some general ecommerce stats for China courtesy Li Yuan,, © Wall Street Journal July 13, 2017:

  • China is an ideal market for experimenting because its traditional banking and retail industries are weak. A generation ago, stores had little to offer and service to match—legacies of the planned economy. Credit cards, nonexistent back then, still aren’t common, while smartphones are everywhere.
  • China’s e-commerce market is now bigger than those of the U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany, France and South Korea combined, according to consultancy McKinsey & Co. 
  • Chinese have also rapidly taken to using their smartphones to make payments and to scanning QR codes. Roughly 67% of China’s 731 million internet users used mobile payment in 2016, according to government data, and half did so in physical stores.
  • True, the e-commerce giants are going offline because they need to. As big as China’s e-commerce industry is, sales of online merchandise made up only 12.6% of the total last year. And the growth of online merchandise sales has slowed from 50% in 2014 to 33% in 2015 and 26% last year.

From a recent “” article, May 21st, 2019 (thanks to Neal Watson Sr. for sending the link):

Top tips on how to attract Chinese tourists

ETOA hosted its first Chinese European Marketplace in Shanghai last week. Here, its head of event strategy Arran Wiltshire, shares his top tips on how to work with China.

  • The Chinese outbound travel market is highly regulated. Foreign-owned travel agencies can’t sell outbound travel products directly from within China. They need to sell through online channels or use Chinese companies as intermediaries.
  • Establish official Chinese social media accounts and Chinese-language landing pages for websites. Well-known social media channels are Weibo and WeChat; booking channels include Qunar and eLong while Mafenguo and Qiongyou are preferred travel communities and review sites. European businesses need to actively interact with customers in terms of comments and reviews.
  • Provide Chinese-language menus and staff who can welcome visitors in Chinese Jennifer Cormack, sales and marketing director of Windermere Lake Cruises, a company which has grown its group bookings from China by 286% since 2016, says: “We hired a social media specialist to make sure we have a Chinese website (.cn); Chinese landing pages on our English website and officially registered Chinese social media platforms.”
  • There is a growing demand for personalisation, tailor-made travel packages and themed travel products such as outdoor and adventure sports including skiing and scuba diving and sports events such as football games in European leagues. Cormack said: “We ensure we have different messages for different markets. Our visitors who come in groups normally can’t speak English, younger travellers can and they travel independently,~ stay longer and want more immersive experiences such as glamping and adventure.”
  • Combine history and culture with contemporary elements. Europe’s rich cultural heritage is a main attraction, but many experience ‘aesthetic fatigue’ – so combining something more contemporary like film or TV locations can be good. The Beatles Story – the world’s largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to the lives and times of The Beatles – has been working with the Chinese market for five years and now it is their fastest growing market – and forward bookings suggest this will continue. It offers complimentary audio media guides in Mandarin and Cantonese and has a Chinese landing page for its website; Weibo and WeChat accounts and Chinese marketing collateral and signage throughout the attraction.
  • Combine authenticity with convenience. Free Wi-Fi connection are taken for granted. Thierry Scheers from restaurant Chez Leon says: “Keep it authentic and simple. We are a Belgian restaurant with traditional food. Don’t make your menu – la Chinese.”
  • Chinese travelers like having access to slippers, kettles and Chinese breakfasts in hotels.
  • Peak travel times for Chinese citizens are in August and during the holidays around Chinese New Year (often in early February) and National Day in October.

Contact us for resources on this expanding market.

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