Swimming pool and spa associations from around the globe gathered recently at Piscina & Wellness Barcelona.
The annual meeting of the World Alliance of Pool and Spa Associations (WAPSA) was convened to further their mission to promote and protect the interests of the pool and spa industry globally.
The event was hosted by the Spanish association ASOFAP, and led by its managing director Agusti Ferrer with Pedro Arrebola. The meeting was chaired by Chris Hayes, managing director of the British Swimming Pool Federation. Angel Celorrio from Piscina & Wellness Barcelona welcomed the group.
Representing Australia was Lindsay McGrath, CEO of SPASA Australia.
In total there were 45 participants from 31 countries including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the USA.
The aim of the meeting was to further strengthen the work of local associations and therefore benefit the members of the industry they represent at a national level. It included a review of global pool and spa data, an investigation into the provision of education pathways for industry and a discussion on the common challenges and solutions relating to safety, health and advocacy.
McGrath says that meeting at a global level provides a unique view of the specific triumphs and challenges each region faces.
“What was obvious was that each association has more similarities than differences. We are all looking to grow and promote our industry and its people,” he says.
Chris Hayes found inspiration in the gathering.
“It is very inspiring to be working with colleagues from around the world in trying to find some common ground to share our experiences to raise the profile and standing of our respective associations at home as well as abroad,” he says.
“The WAPSA meetings have brought countries together in an alliance to agree to work on priorities such as data collection, education and safety. Very recently, it has also been agreed to add the topic of environmental impacts of swimming pools onto the agenda. For the first time, WAPSA will be able to bring our respective associations together to benchmark how other colleagues run their trade associations. This should lead to better benefits for more members, as knowledge is shared.”
He says that much work can be achieved by online meetings and email exchanges and it is anticipated that standard surveys will be developed for countries to fill in regularly to share information.
“The meetings have been held in three countries so far and it makes sense that the fourth meeting returns to Piscine Global Europe in Lyon, as this is the largest pool and spa exhibition in the world. The challenge from 2021 onwards is to broaden the appeal of WAPSA and host a meeting outside Europe to promote WAPSA far and wide,” he says.
A global overview of combined pool data was presented by Sabeena Hickman from the Pool and Hot Tub Association (USA). Other key items discussed were education pathways led by Lindsay McGrath from SPASA Australia and David Warren from the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada, including looking at the development of WASPA-approved courses. The advocacy, safety and health discussion was led by Joelle Pulinx-Chellet of the Fédération des Professionnels de la Piscine (France).
At the meeting it was agreed that a sharepoint be created so members of WAPSA can share contacts and presentations.
They also agreed to set up a questionnaire with definitions and concepts so annual studies and semesterly surveys of market performance can be undertaken, as well as developing a series of annual reports including one on the studies carried out by each association in the year, one about the training courses carried out by each association in the year, and one reporting on the best initiatives developed by each association in the previous year.
The next meeting will be held at the Piscine Global Europe expo held in Lyon in November 2020.
Main shot: WAPSA delegates at Piscina & Wellness Barcelona