ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA FEATURED AT INTERNATIONAL DIVE SHOWMonday 11th November 2013
Antigua and Barbuda was among hundreds of destinations showcased at the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Expo at the Orlando Convention Center, last week. For the 7th consecutive year, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) partnered with The Women Divers Hall of Fame Annual Gala Auction, one of the premier events at DEMA.
Famous marine artist Wyland flanked by US Director, Derede Samuel-Whitlock and Martha Watkins Gilkes of the Female Divers Hall of a Fame, at DEMA Expo fundraiser, Orlando FL
Each year, this spectacular event dubbed TROPICAL DREAMS & PARADISE SUNSTES, elevates Diving as a recreational sport and showcases Antigua and Barbuda as a premier Diving destination in the Caribbean.
Emmy Award winning TV host, Johnathon Bird was emcee of the 2013 event that featured exciting dive and resort packages, high-end art work, jewelry and other rare finds. Bird is well recognized in the diving industry as a dynamic naturalist and underwater photographer and his show Johnathon Bird's Blue World is known for exciting marine research and underwater exploration. Bird engaged the large audience in a series of bids to capture more than $50,000 US worth of items on the auction block.
The annual Gala attracts a star studded audience and brings together key members of the diving industry to raise money for worthy causes such The Women Divers Hall of Fame scholarships and training grants for young men and women entering marine education fields.
US Director of Tourism, Derede Samuel-Whitlock worked with Fund Raising Chair of The Women Divers Hall of Fame, Antiguan and Barbudan based, Martha Watkins Gilkes to coordinate the destination's participation in this important event. Watkins Gilkes said, " I am extremely pleased about the level of publicity that the fundraising and overall promotion generates each year for the diving industry as well as the destination of Antigua and Barbuda."
Samuel Whitlock stated, "After a 7-year partnership, Antigua and Barbuda is now recognized as a key stakeholder at this important event hosted by The Women Divers Hall of Fame and it provides a unique opportunity to showcase the destination to the international diving community. We are also grateful to the host Johnathon Bird, for helping to generate interest and excitement about attractions and accommodations that Antigua and Barbuda has to offer to divers."
Watkins Gilkes also used the opportunity at the Gala, to announce Antigua and Barbuda's imminent intention to pass legislation to protect marine life by banning the capture or captivity of marine mammals. Antigua and Barbuda would become one of the first Caribbean destinations to take this strong public position on marine protection. The announcement was well received by diving enthusiasts and the media.
Another major highlight of the evening was steel pan music provided by the US Tourism office, which each year, helps to showcase the culture and attractions of Antigua and Barbuda and also create an authentic Caribbean atmosphere.
Several scholarship and grant recipients were in attendance at the Gala and were recognized for their academic accomplishments. Antigua and Barbuda youth who may be interested in a career in marine education can apply for scholarships or training grant programs listed on The Women Divers Hall of Fame website www.wdhof.org.
DEMA is the world’s leading dive show for professionals, where more than 10,000 industry leaders from around the globe converge each year to network and conduct business.
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