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Successful restart of the industry platforms

Post-show report • aquanale & FSB 2021

The co-located events aquanale and FSB have made a dynamic restart. After four days of trade fair activity in Cologne, the duo drew to a close on Friday, 29 October 2021. The two leading international events for Sauna.Pool.Ambience and Public Space, Sports and Leisure Facilities were able to provide the momentum that all the trade fair participants had been hoping for to support the industry’s successful development.

More than 16,000 trade visitors from 103 countries attended to find out about the range of products and services offered by the 466 exhibiting companies from 45 countries. “In sport, you’d call it an impressive performance, and it’s one that all the trade fair participants have produced together.

The visitor profile was outstanding and proves that decision makers need trade fairs and make use of them,” says Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, who is delighted with the results. “As the first in-person events for these industries in two years, aquanale and FSB have provided the impetus that everyone was looking for after this challenging period. They have given the sectors involved the confidence and the promising prospects that they need for the work that lies ahead.”

Alongside the excellent visitor numbers, the trade fairs’ international attendance was also impressive – over 61 per cent of visitors travelled from outside Germany. The Benelux countries, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey and the Ukraine accounted for most of the visitors from abroad, but the events also attracted an audience from the Middle East – in particular Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – as well as the US and Canada.

The visitors’ high-level decision-making authority contributed significantly to the success of the trade fairs and to the exhibitors’ satisfaction with the events. An initial evaluation of the visitor survey emphasises that, across both events, around two-thirds of respondents are involved in purchasing decisions and that as many as 64 per cent have a “decisive” or “contributory” influence on such decisions. A good two-thirds of visitors were very satisfied with the products and services on display, and around 78 per cent were very satisfied with their achievement of their trade fair objectives. A considerable 83 per cent would recommend attending aquanale and FSB. More than 70 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with their trade fair visit in the context of the current situation, and roughly 65 per cent of respondents are already planning to attend the events in two years’ time.

aquanale 2021:
Some 176 companies from 28 countries showcased the latest products and designs for constructing modern, sustainable and innovative swimming pool and wellness facilities at aquanale 2021. Sustainability, material composition and, naturally, energy efficiency were among the key issues this year. “aquanale 2021 was defined by its high-quality visitor profile and expert audience,” says Dietmar Rogg, President of the German Association for Swimming Pools and Wellness (bsw). “The exhibitors and visitors that I spoke to were very happy to finally be able to experience the sights and sounds of a trade fair again because the industry does not just live its profession – it also brings ‘its’ event platform to life with its enthusiasm. And anyone who is enthusiastic and enthuses others will be successful.” High levels of satisfaction were also notable among the companies that appeared in the EWA Village, hosted by the European Waterpark Association: They reported excellent discussions and good deals signed.

The International Swimming Pool and Wellness Forum, organised by the trade fair’s conceptual sponsors, the bsw and IAKS (International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities), demonstrated its international appeal as a platform for trends, networking and business. This year, the four-day forum focused on sustainability and digitalisation, best-practice examples from the 2021 IOC IPC IAKS Architecture Prizes, developing healthy and sustainable pools, technology and law, the EU Biocidal Products Regulation in practice, the safe opening of public pool facilities during the pandemic, training and continuing professional development for pool attendants, and technical pool tours.

The prize-giving ceremony for the 2020 EUSA Awards, presented by the European Union of Swimming Pool and Spa Associations, was also hosted at aquanale. The awards recognise the most beautiful domestic outdoor and indoor pools, hot tubs, spas, pools with an enclosure, and pools with an automatic cover.

FSB 2021:
Participants in FSB 2021 numbered 288 companies from 37 countries and presented a comprehensive overview of the full range of products and topics related to public spaces, playground equipment, outdoor fitness, sports facilities and equipment, sports flooring and stadium infrastructure. “The right signal at the right time – FSB and the IAKS Congress have brought together the industry’s key players and rekindled that face-to-face dialogue that is so important. After all, concepts that are jointly supported and then implemented by all stakeholders are vital as we move towards sustainable and climate-friendly sports and leisure facilities. Only a concerted approach will help us face the upcoming decisions in an environment that has been transformed by the pandemic,” concludes Dr Stefan Kannewischer, President of the IAKS.

Taking place in a hybrid form for the first time this year, the IAKS Congress once again lived up to its reputation as a global source of inspiration for the sports and leisure industry. Over 340 guests and delegations from 34 countries, plus an additional 85 unique users who accessed the event online, took the opportunity to find out about current trends. The overarching theme of the IAKS Congress this year was “developing healthy and sustainable communities”. On the evening of the first day of the trade fair, innovative and sustainable sports and leisure facilities were recognised with the 2021 IOC IAKS Awards and the IPC IAKS Distinction for Accessibility. In addition, the IOC, IPC and IAKS presented the Architecture and Design Awards for Students and Young Professionals. All 30 award-winning projects in this year’s IOC IPC IAKS Architecture Prizes were showcased in a special event at the IAKS trade fair stand.

Another section of the trade fair that was well attended was the area organised by the German Association for Playground Equipment and Leisure Facility Manufacturers (BSFH e.V.). The particular focus here was on the topics “Creative schoolyard design – pupils need exercise” and “Playground safety”.

The STADTundRAUM themed area also attracted a great deal of interest with its workshops, congress topics, the well-established plannerFORUM, the presentation of the German Playground Award (Deutscher SPIELRAUM-Preis) and an attractive special event on current topics, including the design of public spaces, mobility and urban planning and development.

Decision makers from clubs, municipalities, policy-making and stadiums as well as leading companies in the sports facility industry gathered to engage in exciting discussions in the SPORTNETZWERK.FSB networking area. The initiative is organised by Koelnmesse and Sportstättenrechner, the online cost calculator for sports facilities.

The next aquanale and FSB will be held from 24 to 27 October 2023.

Further information is available at www.fsb-cologne.com and www.aquanale.com

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