Supplement Feature - January 2022
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Calmer Waters

The 2022 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping

The year 2020 was a turbulent time in the aquatics industry, with many facilities opening late if at all, which had a detrimental effect on everything from budgets and construction planning to lifeguard training and drowning prevention. And while many hoped that the summer of 2021 would represent a return to normal operations, the surging delta variant of the coronavirus and ongoing restrictions in some parts of the country meant that business as usual was still something to look forward to … eventually.

All of that said, aquatic facilities certainly fared better in 2021. For one thing, many more of them were able to actually open for business. As you'll read later in this report, in 2020, more than one-fifth (22.3%) of respondents to the 2020 Aquatic Trends survey did not open their aquatic facilities at all. In 2021, that number fell to just 3.2%. But the pandemic—with its impact on everything from supply chains to staffing, not to mention the need to adjust operations for social distancing and health requirements—continues to affect business and prevent a return to normal operations.

In these pages, we'll cover these broader trends in the aquatic industry, as well as the specific ins and outs of aquatic operations. We'll give you a big-picture view of how things currently stand, with a glimpse into how things will be trending over the next couple of years.

To begin, let's get a quick overview of our more than 500 respondents whose facilities include aquatic elements—from competitive natatoriums to municipal waterparks, splash play areas and beyond.

Respondents to the survey came from every region of the United States, but the largest number—27.8%—were from the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. (See Figure 1.)

The next largest region was the West, with 25.3%. This includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The South Atlantic region was home to 17.8% of survey respondents. This includes Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Some 16.3% of survey respondents said they were from the Northeastern states. This includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The South Central region was represented by 12.7% of respondents. This region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.