The World Waterpark Association (WWA) celebrated a return to its annual in-person conference and trade show in San Antonio, Texas (October 19-22, 2021). Travel restrictions made access to the US challenging for overseas exhibitors and attendees, resulting in the show being largely attended by North Americans. Despite the continuing pandemic, the mood was positive throughout the week, with both vendors and operators anxious for a return to business as usual.
While persistent supply chain disruptions appear to be impacting the pace of further development, a more positive result is that it’s become more attractive to buy locally. Products and materials that don’t rely on overseas shipping containers for transit are not as impacted by the supply chain challenges.
Operators continue to navigate staffing shortages and a small labor pool. Many have been relying on wage hikes, season-completion bonuses and limited operational hours to offset the supply of workers. Some rely on rotating staff to different rides throughout the day, closing the rides when staff are working a different attraction.
On Wednesday evening attendees gathered at Six Flags Fiesta Texas for an impressive networking event. The park provided tours of its waterpark attractions and opened up three rides and two haunted houses for guests to experience. The event showcased both the best parts of the park as well as the waterpark industry. With everyone happy and enjoying the park, everyone was reminded of the joy the industry brings to guests on a daily basis, and why the waterpark industry in particular quickly rose to the challenge of reopening facilities as soon as safely possible.
WWA has scheduled next year’s conference for Las Vegas, Nevada for October 4-7, 2022.