“Sharing the same passion that drives us: the SEA”
Interview with Philippe Taquin, manager of the reference diving center in Fornells, north of Menorca, which just joined the Dune family and now embodies the identity Dune Baléares!
Philippe Taquin is Belgian. For thirty years, he worked as a chartered accountant, tax consultant, professor of accounting and taxation, judge at the Commercial Court… Then, he discovered diving. “10 years ago, I started my diving activities with a first dive in the pool. I quickly became passionate and recorded 150 dives in the first year, while continuing my trainings… The following year, I became a technical diving instructor and collaborated in a Belgian diving center in my spare time“, he recalls.
The passion is such that Philippe Taquin decides to change his life: in 2014, he moves to Minorca. Four years later, becoming a technical diving instructor at Diving Center Fornells, he bought out his boss’s shares. “Since then, I have been at the head of the diving center, converting it into a PADI IDC 5-star Center in December 2020.” Today, Diving Center Fornells joins the big Dune family!
What were the reasons behind your decision of joining the Dune franchise?
We are working hard and continuously to become the center of reference in Menorca. In December 2020, I transformed the center into PADI IDC 5-star Center, with the ambition to train instructors. I contacted Marco Di Tomasso to see if he was interested in becoming Course Director in our center. He then asked me the question: “Have you thought about joining the Dune network?”. Actually, no! I know Dune because I met them during the Paris Diving Exhibition in 2020… In Menorca, our priority is not to extend the diving season, but to fill the months of low activity (April, May, June, October…). The French public is growing rapidly in Menorca. Integrating the Dune network can only make us stronger and increase our visibility. The exchange of ideas and know-how seems to me to be fundamental, and we feel stronger when we are in a group, a network.
What are the values you share with Dune?
The FUN, SECURITY, PRO aspects, sincerity, accessibility… We put the customer at the heart of our project, but also our employees… To share the same passion that drives us: the SEA.
What are the advantages of franchising? In spite of the health context that is not very favorable to travel, do you already notice a difference?
First of all, an external view of the functioning of our organization. The strengths and weaknesses, the areas of improvement to make the Dune Baléares experience unforgettable for our clients.
Then, on a personal level, a fresh look at the management and coaching aspect of a diving center… (and yes, it is very different from a chartered accountant’s office!). Lastly, in terms of bookings, we receive groups in the weaker months, for example October… This is precisely the type of customer we were looking to target: French speaking diving clubs and associations.
Finally, and in order to make future divers dream of spending their vacations in the Balearic Islands, can you describe us the type of experiences offered in your center?
Menorca is a real paradise. The most authentic island of the Balearic Islands. It is a family destination. Its waters are crystal-clear all year round, with between 15 and 30 meters of visibility. The marine reserve in the north of Menorca was created in May 1999, as was our diving center. All our dive sites are accessible to all levels. The underwater landscapes are spectacular and the marine life is rich. During our diving excursions we can see groupers, barracudas, sea breams, nudibranchs, octopuses, morays, amberjacks, corbs, etc… All our dives are supervised and systematically accompanied in the water by two instructors. We offer the widest range of diving courses, from recreational to professional, including technical diving and freediving.
All courses are conducted from the boat, including first dives in the marine reserve, and the duration of each first dive is between 40 and 50 minutes. We offer the possibility for non-divers to join us for snorkeling activities, and we also offer packages that combine different activities: kayaking, catamaran, gastronomy, boat excursions, or stargazing with a specialized guide.
Speaking of which, what else can you do in Menorca besides diving?
We collaborate with different companies that offer other activities such as kayak excursions, catamaran trips, including sunset trips, boat trips to the north coast, exploration of the island accompanied by a French-speaking guide, boat rental with a license… Menorca has more than 150 creeks accessible from the land or by sea. You cannot leave the island without visiting its seven lighthouses, its fortresses (the most impressive is the Mola Mahon), its highest point (Monte Toro), its small villages and fishing ports (Fornells, Binibeca Vell, …) or the largest natural port in the world, Mahon. You should also enjoy its most emblematic beaches: Cala Pregonda, Playa de Cavalleria, Cala Turqueta, Macarella and Macarelleta … But also its gastronomy, its caldereta de langosta, its cheese, sobrasada, the best ensaimada in the world. And even its mayonnaise: it is in Minorca that it was invented by Richelieu!
- On 7 October 2021