Rick Taman of Paragon Travel in Toronto

How many dives have you done?  About 3,000.

How has business changed since you got into it?  A lot, particularly in my specialty. Diving is more popular now – I have one client who’s 85 years old. Many more women are diving too. And a lot more destinations are targeting divers.

What drives you crazy? People who think they can go diving when they are not certified. They don’t understand it’s not safe and that dive operators are at huge risk.

What was your biggest individual sale? I had IMAX as a client in the early 90s and they would regularly book $100,000 trips.

Do you have a favourite destination? I always say my favourite will probably be the next one I find.  But I have a special place in my heart for Newfoundland – and yes, you can dive there!

What would you say is the up and coming dive destination? The Bay Islands in Honduras.  

Do you think you were wise to specialize?  Yes, oh yes.  I think having a niche that you are passionate about is really fortunate.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? ‘Don’t give up. It will eventually pay off.’  Earl Smith (formerly of Cayman Islands Tourism) taught me that.   

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Borneo, Malaysia, Indonesia – incredible, untouched beauty.

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale? (laughs) Yes, it goes like this: You just need to add water!

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