I have been living in Italy for the past seven years. I have been diving here since August 2009. It is quite long ago and I don’t particularly remember my OW and AOW courses that I did. But I do feel that they gave me a good grasp of the basics. From 2009 until 2012 I only did a couple of dives a year. Most of my friends didn’t want to dive and I ended up diving while I was on holiday.
But my experience of diving in Italy, although limited, has not been good. Aside from my initial instruction back in 2009 the dives that I have done recently in Italy have been a shambles. Perhaps I am going to places that are bad, perhaps I am there on off days, perhaps my standards are too high. But for one reason or another I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth and not wanting to dive there again.
It seems that there is a general trend with the different dive shops that I have been to. I refer you back to the very first post that I made about What makes a good dive shop?. Most of these points have come from my frustration at the dive shops here. I feel that people new to diving must be put off. I have met few people that are genuinely interested in helping others. I have seen too many instructors that don’t follow proper procedure. Dive shops that are so disorganised you spend longer trying to check-in for your dive than you actually do on your dive. I’ve been given briefings that don’t include important information, and I have been offered equipment that is so old that it should be replaced.
Then I compare the dives that I have done in places like Malta, Egypt and Greece. The companies there work like well oiled machines. Yes, they do have their issues but each of those places made me feel welcome and provided such a high level of customer service that I would gladly go back again.
In Italy customer service doesn’t exist. Italy makes the UK (which is notoriously bad for customer service) seem like you are treated like a king or queen. I find it so sad that it is this way. There are many small and simple things that the dive shops could be doing. In the end they are really hurting themselves by being so disorganised and customer unfocussed.
I am not sure if I will dive again in Italy before I go to Malta for my Divemaster certification and after that, as I am leaving Italy for fairer shores, I doubt I will dive here again.