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Feature Article - June 2018
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A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities

From the biggest waterparks with all the rides and slides down to the smallest hotel pool, aquatic facilities present a tremendous range of possibilities. Innovations in manufacturing and operations and research into health and safety have led to many advances over time, and while aquatic facilities still present unique management challenges (and headaches), it's easier than ever to maintain a more efficient, healthier pool or aquatic feature, while providing the fun and fitness will keep people coming back time and again for more.

In this section, we take a look at the answers provided by survey respondents whose facilities include aquatic elements: indoor swimming pools, outdoor swimming pools, splash play areas, waterparks and hot tubs. For much more information on aquatics, be sure to tune in to all of our tabloid-size issues (every month but June, August and December), where we feature a regular roundup of aquatics-specific research conducted as a supplement to this Industry Report.

In 2018, more than half (53.6 percent) of respondents to the Industry Report survey said their facilities include aquatic elements. (See Figure 36.)

Aquatic Facilities

Slightly fewer indoor facilities are represented in the 2018 survey, compared with 2017. The most common type of aquatic facility found among respondents' facilities is outdoor swimming pools. Nearly three-quarters (73.1 percent) of aquatic respondents said they have at least one outdoor swimming pool. They were followed by indoor swimming pools, found among 59.3 percent of aquatic respondents, down from 64.8 percent in 2017. Nearly half (49.7 percent) said they have splash play areas. Another 36.2 percent have hot tubs, spas or whirlpools. And nearly a quarter (23 percent) of aquatic respondents said their facilities include waterparks. (See Figure 37.)

Outdoor swimming pools are most commonly found among aquatic respondents in the South Central and South Atlantic regions. Some 86.8 percent of South Central respondents and 80.8 percent of South Atlantic respondents said they have outdoor swimming pools. Aquatic respondents from the Midwest are the least likely to include outdoor swimming pools, though nearly two-thirds (65.3 percent) said they do have at least one outdoor pool. When considered by community type, respondents from the suburbs are the most likely to include outdoor pools, with 74.8 percent indicating that they include them in their facilities.

Indoor swimming pools are most commonly found in the Midwest and Northeast, with 65 percent of Midwestern respondents and 62.1 percent of Northeastern respondents reporting that they include indoor pools. Aquatic respondents in the West are the least likely to include indoor pools, though more than half (55.6 percent) said they have them. Indoor pools are more prominent in urban communities than the suburbs and rural areas, with 62.7 percent of aquatic respondents from urban communities reporting that they have indoor pools.

Splash play areas are most common in the West and the South Atlantic states. Some 58.5 percent of aquatic respondents in the West and 52.7 percent in the South Atlantic region said they currently include splash play. This amenity was least common in the Northeast, where 36.1 percent of aquatic respondents said they include splash play. Community-wise, splash play areas are more common in urban areas, with 57.3 percent of urban aquatic respondents indicating that they include at least one splash play area among their amenities.

Waterparks are most commonly found in the Midwest and the South Central states. Some 31.4 percent of aquatic respondents from the Midwest and 25.9 percent from the South Central states said they currently include waterparks. They are far less common in the Northeast, where only 7.1 percent of aquatic respondents said they have a waterpark. Community-wise, the suburbs are more likely to be home to a waterpark, with 26.2 percent of aquatic respondents from the suburbs indicating they include a waterpark.

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