Supplement Feature - February 2021
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Just Keep Swimming

The 2021 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


The Pandemic Effect

Obviously, the massive closures and adaptations to operations when (and if) facilities reopened was a tremendous challenge for aquatic facilities in 2020. With a vaccine distribution plan just getting under way, there is more hope for 2021, but with most experts hoping for a return to normal in late summer and early fall, the impact to the aquatics industry will be ongoing.

We asked respondents whether their aquatic facilities opened for the 2020 season, and in what capacity. More than two-thirds (77.7%) of respondents said they were open in some capacity for the 2020 season, and 22.3% did not open at all. Just under one-fifth (17.3%) of respondents said they opened all of their aquatic facilities according to their usual schedule, and 29% opened all of their facilities, but later than their usual opening date. Another 10.5% said they opened some, but not all, of their aquatic facilities according to their usual schedule, and 20.9% opened some, but not all, of their facilities, but later than their usual opening date. (See Figure 28.)

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to report that they had opened all of their aquatic facilities according to their regular schedule in 2020. Nearly half (47%) of Y respondents had done so. They were followed by schools, 21.9% of whom said their aquatic facilities were open as usual in 2020.

Respondents from camps were the most likely to indicate that they did not open at all in 2020, with more than a third (36.4%) reporting they did not open any aquatic facilities last year. They were followed by park respondents, 29.9% of whom did not open their aquatic facilities at all in 2020.

Looking forward, respondents were fairly positive about their prospects for the 2021 season. A full 98.6% of respondents expect their aquatic facilities to be either open as normal in 2021 (37.4%) or open as usual but with social distancing measures in place (61.2%). Only 1.4% said they will not be opening their aquatic facilities in 2021. (See Figure 29.)