Piscina & Wellness Barcelona will be held from 29 November to 2 December and aims to boost the activity of a sector in which innovation and sustainability are the main drivers of development. The trade show, the most international on the industry’s European calendar, brings together companies from more than 20 countries with products and services in the pool, wellness, spa, fitness, and outdoor living value chain. Traditionally, the participation of Turkish firms is sizeable, given the fair acts as a commercial gateway to the Spanish market and other European and Latin American countries. Akboru Elektrik, Aquativ, Ema Makine, Er Kalıp, Özde Cam, Polgun Water Slides, Polin Water Parks, Piarpi, MK Havuz are some of the companies that approved their participation this year.
As a new feature, this year Piscina & Wellness Barcelona will coincide with the BBConstrumat construction fair and incorporate a hybrid format to broaden the scope, training content and networking this will generate.
We talked about Piscina Wellness and the Turkish Pool industry with Piscina & Wellness Barcelona Director Angel Celorrio.
Can you make a brief evaluation of the swimming pool sector in the world? How do you find the development of the industry, especially in developing countries?
Despite the pandemic, the swimming pool industry experienced remarkable growth last year, especially in Europe and the US, and this trend is set to continue in 2021. We are talking about mature markets. There are currently several factors at play in the area of residential swimming pools: people have been forced to spend more time at home and are investing more in adapting the outdoor areas of their homes to create an open-air entertainment space which includes a swimming pool, an element also seen as increasingly valuable to leisure and well-being. Swimming pool owners are demanding additional functionalities, so there are rising sales of equipment that facilitates and automates pool maintenance or turns having a swim into a healthier experience.
In the area of public swimming pools and wellness areas, there has been a slowdown, but I think that in countries with a strong tourism industry such as Spain, Turkey or Mexico, we are going to see a boom in investment in resorts and wellness in the next two years to update the aquatic facilities of many hotels.
You worked at Fira de Barcelona in various positions for many years. What kind of changes do you observe in the fair culture and habits of industry professionals?
In recent years, trade fairs have been incorporating a more experiential approach to staging and creating value-added spaces for exhibitors and visitors. There has also been much more emphasis placed on proactivity and networking in order to ensure the maximum number of synergies occur in the same space and facilitate the exchange of information and commercial agreements and collaboration between professionals. What’s more, there is an increased demand for service customisation, for tailor-made participation, so that companies get the maximum return on their investment. We might also mention the increased digitisation, a trend that the pandemic has only accelerated. Events are becoming hybrid and incorporate digital platforms to extend the reach of their content and networking beyond the days of the fair.
As for changing habits of professionals in terms of trade fairs, it has been noted that visitors prepare their visit better in order to make the most of their time and therefore reduce the number of days they spend at the fair. It also prioritises leading events with a good value proposition, where you can find the most representative offer of the sector, make good professional contacts and update your knowledge. On the other hand, after the pandemic I think the fairs will come storming back. Online events have allowed us to connect with customers and suppliers, communicate product launches or distribute content. But in the end, we will always need physical meeting and networking places, an added and irreplaceable value that trade fairs provide. I believe that shaking hands with those you are doing business with is very important for professionals in all sectors.
Piscina & Wellness Barcelona is an organization closely followed by the industry. What is the contribution of such organizations to the sector?
In fact, for the organisation of our event we have the help and involvement of the pool industry employers’ association ASOFAP and the main Spanish companies in the sector, as well as other professional bodies linked to sectors that use swimming pool and wellness products and services. All of them are represented on the Piscina & Wellness Barcelona organising committee or in working groups that allow us to design the show and its activities according to the real needs of companies and the market. The work that these associations do to bring the sector together is very important, offering advice, technical information, market studies, training and networking to companies and professionals, as well as defending the interests of the sector.
With your organization and other different working commissions, you constantly identify the needs of the sector and organize activities and demonstrations for these needs. According to your research, what is the most important problem and need of the industry right now? What would you suggest to overcome these?
The great challenge for the swimming pool sector is to sustainably do its business, controlling the impact on the environment and the use of water. In this sense, innovation and digitalisation undoubtedly help to achieve more efficient and sustainable pools by reducing the consumption of energy, water and chemicals. This industry also needs greater professionalisation of companies and their employees in order to effectively respond to market demand. For this, training and specialisation of staff is very important and here associations, companies and trade fairs have an important role to play in the dissemination of technical knowledge and standards and in the creation of spaces for sharing experiences.
What does Pıscına & Wellness Barcelona mean for the World Pool Industry? What perception would you like to have with your name?
With 25 years of history, Piscina & Wellness Barcelona is a consolidated and recognised show. It is the most international of the pool industry’s European trade fair calendar, with 60% of exhibitors coming from outside Spain. It brings together the entire pool product value chain; for residential and public use, aquatic sports and recreational facilities, plus equipment and accessories related to wellness, spa, fitness and outdoor living. We are committed to positioning ourselves as a HUB that concentrates the greatest number of innovations in the pool and wellness sector. Innovation and sustainability are driving the industry and we want to reflect this.
What are your plans to encourage education and professional networking at the next fair and, above all, to design new fields and experimental activities that will bring a lot of added value?
We remain committed to training and networking activities at Piscina & Wellness Barcelona. This is one of our differential values when it comes to drawing a qualified person who wants to know the trends in the sector and the real application and benefits of the innovations presented by the exhibiting companies. In this sense, we will reinforce the area dedicated to Innovation; once again we will build the Wellness Experience so that our visitors can see a wellness centre in operation; and we will hold numerous conferences and symposiums related to wellness, aquatic leisure, innovations in public and residential pools or access to European funds for companies in the sector, as well as business meetings with international buyers, which this year will be amplified by the hybrid format we are launching for the first time. Our aim is to bring together the best knowledge in trends, business opportunities and innovation in the pool and wellness sector.
How do you evaluate the pool industry in Turkey? What are your thoughts against Turkish companies?
The swimming pool industry in Turkey is relatively young and its expansion is closely linked to the tourism and hotel sector in Mediterranean cities, especially in the last ten years. At the same time, increased residential development has led to a significant increase in demand for swimming pools in single-family homes, as it implies an increase in property values. The Turkish Swimming Pool Industry Association (UHE- Ulusal Havuz Enstitüsü), which brings together the main manufacturers and distributors, is doing a very good job in promoting and opening up the European market to companies in the sector. Turkish companies are also committed to incorporating innovation in line with international standards and are gaining a foothold in the European market.
Many organizations were canceled due to the pandemic. How do you think the pandemic affected the pool industry?
As I said, the pandemic has led the swimming pool to gain value as a real estate asset. In the residential pool sector, there has been an increase in demand for pool construction and refurbishment and equipment related to cleaning, connectivity and maintenance automation, as well as wellness. In public pools, there has been a slowdown in demand, which we expect to recover as tourism returns to activity.
Have you traveled to Turkey before and never your entry to the pool in Turkey?
Yes, I travelled to Turkey years ago to see its main cities. It is an incredible country with an enormous natural and artistic wealth. My experience is, therefore, as a traveller and user of the swimming pools of the hotels where I stayed. These are high quality facilities, some of which have been converted into authentic water parks, where the wellness and spa elements play an important role, given the historical link and tradition of water as an element of health in Turkish baths (hammam)
Finally, is there a message you want to give to Turkish pool professionals?
I would like to invite Turkish pool professionals to participate in this year’s edition of Piscina & Wellness Barcelona, which will mark a turning point in the international trade fair calendar of the sector after this long year marked by the pandemic. The show will once again bring together the leading manufacturers and distributors of swimming pool, wellness and spa products and services and will help to boost companies’ commercial activity by focusing on innovation. We coincide with the BBConstrumat construction trade show, which greatly expands the possibilities of contacting new professional profiles and to the physical celebration we’re adding a digital platform that will be available all year round to continue promoting networking and sector knowledge. During the event, a protocol will be applied to guarantee maximum security for our exhibitors and visitors, which has been awarded the “Safe Travels” seal by the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC).