Scuba Diving Tourism Statistics 2022

Scuba Diving Tourism Statistics

Scuba diving has come a long way in such a small amount of time. Unlike other sports, it has not been around for hundreds of years, yet we have seen a huge growth in the number of participants.

There are a few different Scuba diving tourism statistics we can look at, such as the total number of scuba divers within the community. How many of those are female? Where is the most popular place to visit? 

Let’s have a look at some of the Scuba diving tourism statistics, such as:

  • Growth
  • European divers
  • Female divers
  • Age
  • Destinations

The Growth of Scuba Diving

As Scuba diving becomes more accessible and globally distributed, it has seen rapid growth. In 2016, PADI recorded an annual average growth rate of 900,000 diver certifications. 

Scuba diving allows us to breathe underwater and experience incredible marine life, wrecks and more. Of course, why wouldn’t something so magnificent become hugely popular in such a small amount of time?  

It is difficult to calculate exact numbers when talking about Scuba diving statistics, due to the numerous diving agencies around the world. However, PADI is one of the largest Scuba diving agencies and has provided us with some insightful statistics for the last few years. 

One main reason for such huge growth within this industry is that Scuba diving is becoming more accessible around the globe.

Scuba diving has become more commonly involved in family holidays, romantic getaways and even backpacking adventures! 

In 2019, PADI is listed as having 137,000 professional members around the world. A large chunk of those professionals is PADI Divemasters and Instructors, ready to take you on an experience of a lifetime!

Operating in 189 countries, PADI centres have certified 27 million divers since 1967 globally! Now that is a huge community!

Scuba diving tourism is not only a holiday destination, but can include incredible dive sites within your own country! For example, UK diving tourism is booming. In 2015, a £40 million Discover England Fund was declared, aiming to provide world-class tourism products for UK scuba diving. 

Coldwater diving might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in the UK there are some outstanding dive sites. From exploring World War battleships to admiring marine life, UK diving has a lot to offer. 

You might even be visited by a curious seal, making his presence known by tugging on your fins

On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the US has also been experiencing large industry growth. In 2019, there were 2.72 million Scuba diving participants in the US alone. 

European Diver Statistics

Out of the 6 million global scuba diving travellers, around one-quarter of them are European. 

Behind the US, the EU has the second largest and wealthiest economy in the world. This allows Europeans to be fortunate enough to travel further from home during their holidays, and take up more expensive hobbies such as Scuba diving. 

European divers make up a large segment of Scuba diving tourism, within and outside of Europe. Leisure divers are 70% of this tourism, being likely to combine this adventurous activity with other leisurely activities while on holiday. 

Millions of people all around the world are becoming certified underwater adventures! Around 20% of European tourists are certified divers, and travel to different dive spots around the world, ticking off dive sites from a long list of dream locations. (Yes, I have one too!

Female Diver Statistics

Scuba diving is still male-dominated, however, recently the number of female divers is increasing with speed. 

Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan were the first to successfully make an open-circuit diving set in 1943, known as the Aqua-lung. Scuba diving then took off, along with the design of Scuba equipment, with buoyancy control devices invented in the 1960s. 

With the first Scuba divers being male, the industry was male-dominated for a while.

However, in 1955, Dottie Frazier was the first certified female scuba diving instructor. Frazier became an incredible female role model within scuba diving, going on to being the first female to own and manage a dive shop. 

Frazier and many other female scuba diving role models have inspired women around the world to get involved in the sport. Female divers have continued to increase, especially with the help of International Women’s Day and other female diver fundraisers. 

In 2018, PADI released that 38% of their certifications were female. This has increased from 34.4% in 2013, however, the industry is still male-dominated.

Women across the globe are fighting stereotypes, lifting that heavy equipment and doing what they love despite being the minority in the community. 

The first International Women’s day had such a positive effect on the involvement of women, we have seen recreational certifications increase by 2.2%. Although female divers are only 39.5% of the global community, the gender gap is continuously shrinking! 

This is an incredible achievement in creating equality within Scuba diving and creating space for women to have a huge positive impact on the community and our precious oceans.

Dive Destination Statistics

Between 2013-2018, PADI has seen a huge increase in certification within the younger age groups and some older age groups. 

Education and certifications are improving, allowing children between 10-19 to tap into their adventure-seeking side and try Scuba diving. Between 2013-2018, certifications from ages 10-19 have increased from only 3% to 11.1%. 

It is great to see such a positive increase in young people’s participation in Scuba diving. This is likely to be due to an increase in accessibility of Scuba diving globally, in addition to improved certification availability.

Ages 20-39 remained dominant within the community throughout the years, increasing by 4.4%. 

All age groups are well represented, from 10-59. The age group 60 and over has the lowest % of certifications, reducing since 2013. Hopefully, this is likely due to getting certified at a younger age, as global distribution and popularity increase. 

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

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Final Thoughts

Scuba diving is one of the largest industries in the world, increasing every day. The industry is becoming more accessible across the globe, between both genders and all age groups!

Like most of the world, Scuba diving is recovering from the global pandemic, but it is back and ready to explore our underwater world. 

I’ll see you out there….let’s get salty!!

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Bethany Nyquist

Bethany is a writer, an Environmental Scientist and Dive Master, exploring the underwater world. Practising Underwater Photography, Bethany aims to raise awareness for and help protect marine life.

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