Learn more about Asia’s longest-running dive show, the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX)
It wasn’t exactly a smooth ride for ADEX back in the 2000s. But things started looking up after John Thet and his underwater3some team took over to make the dive show one of the biggest scuba-centric events in the world. Find out how the brand made its way up the ladder of success and what the future holds for it.
TELL US ABOUT THE STORY BEHIND ADEX.
The first ADEX show took place in 1995, so it’s actually been around for the past 20 years. When I attended the show as an exhibitor in 2002, I could see how it was great for the industry and how it was crucial to industry growth. But somewhere along the line, the show kind of went south. So I thought to myself: Should everyone let this show go or should I take over and try and revive it? We took over six years ago in 2009 and the rest, as they say, is history.
COULD YOU SHARE SOME DEFINING MOMENTS AND MILESTONES WITH US?
Our first show was definitely something to remember. It was 2010 and we combined the show together with our scuba titles, Asian Diver and Scuba Diver AUSTRALASIA – together we called this entity of ours the underwater3some group. Our 2010 show featured fewer than 100 booths and we had just 21,000 visitors. But from 2013 onwards, it grew exponentially. This year’s ADEX (2015) blew everything out of the water; our hall space was by far the largest we ever had – 6,600 square metres – making it the biggest dive show in Asia Pacific! Our visitor numbers hit 41,053, making it the most visited dive show in the region. Past shows were managed by different companies who were in charge for no more than five years, and we’re proud to say we made it past that! Next year, it’ll be our seventh year managing ADEX and we can’t wait for everyone to see how it’s bigger and better than ever before.
WHAT MAKES ADEX DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DIVE SHOWS OUT THERE?
ADEX isn’t just a dive expo. We believe in our motto: LEARN, LEAD, INSPIRE. LEARN: Thanks to our speakers and the different programmes we have, everyone can take something away from ADEX, whether it’s a ton of underwater photography tips or golden words of advice from industry players. LEAD: We lead the way with segments and features that are mostly firsts in Asia, such as our TekDive Conference and the ADEX Film Festival. INSPIRE: Aside from our aim to inspire non-divers to give scuba diving a go (we have a ‘Try Dive’ tank for this) and to get certified divers to level up or try something different (like freediving), we want to inspire both divers and non-divers to love and care for our oceans.
WHAT STEPS IS ADEX TAKING WHEN IT COMES TO BRANDING AND MARKETING IN ASIA PACIFIC SPECIFICALLY?
We’re keeping up with the times so our social media presence is very strong. We’re very active in posting both ADEX and dive-related content on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. We recently hit 100,000 Likes on Facebook and we can safely say we’re currently the most ‘Liked’ dive show on the planet! Aside from social media, we also work closely with dive shows in the region (we formed Beyond Ocean Network for this purpose) so we all support one another and we appreciate this close bond with everyone.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS AND ADVICE FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS WHO’D LIKE TO FOLLOW IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS?
Be professional. Think of yourself as a representative of the dive industry and work towards growth. And always, always give back to the industry. You have to understand that there must be a balance between passion and business. Also, when offering a product or a service, as Aristotle said, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ADEX?
We want to place a lot more emphasis on trade and double the number of trade visitors from 20% to 40% – one of the reasons we decided to launch this Scuba360 eMagazine. At ADEX 2016, we’ll be launching the Scuba360 Business Forum – a series of conferences, panel discussions and presentations involving the industry leaders and key players in the scubaverse. Watch this space!