When aquanale - International Trade Fair for Sauna.Pool.Ambience - returns from 24 to 27 October 2023, Cologne will once again be the epicentre of the international swimming pool and wellness world. The event, which will be held in parallel with FSB - International Trade Fair for Public Space, Sports and Leisure Facilities - will focus on innovative technologies and new products from the pool, sauna, spa and wellness sectors.

International trade fair will offer solutions, inspiration and networking opportunities for the industry

An online press briefing on Wednesday, 28 June 2023, offered a look ahead to the upcoming edition. Matthias Pollmann, Vice President Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse, Ute Wanschura, Managing Director of the German Federal Association for Swimming Pools and Wellness (bsw), aquanale's conceptual partner, and Anneli Wilska from the Sauna from Finland initiative, which has entered into a strategic partnership with aquanale this year, discussed the latest issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry and highlighted aquanale's role as the primary industry gathering in this context.

aquanale 2023 is due to open in around four months' time, and preparations are in full swing. As Matthias Pollmann reported, the response from exhibitors has been extremely encouraging: "We expect aquanale to be very successful and to follow on seamlessly from the strong events that have gone before. More than 90 per cent of the space is already booked up, with 280 exhibitors from 30 countries covering almost all aspects of the industry. It's a clear sign that the event is a vital business platform for the sector." The exhibiting companies already registered include Aquasolar, Behncke, BWT Procopi, Chemoform, Grando, Fluidra, Riviera, Schmalenberger, Niveko, Speck Pumpen, Binder, Renolit, Rollo Solar, Hayward, Compass Pool, Techno Alpin, WDT, Hugo Lahme and Whirlcare. "We've set a target to attract 25,000 visitors from Germany and around the globe to the aquanale/FSB trade fair duo," Pollmann continued.



As the world's largest industry event, aquanale aims to keep pace with changing wants and needs by embracing innovation. "Leading trade fairs like aquanale aren't just a showcase of the products and services available around the globe. They also have a responsibility to identify new issues and challenges and to highlight potential solutions as they emerge. We've already successfully lived up to that aspiration for the last 20 years," noted Pollmann. aquanale offers a comprehensive overview of products, strategies and solutions designed to address current challenges such as energy efficiency and water management, as well as issues like digitalisation and managing shortages of skilled workers.

Water and energy: focus topics for the industry

Ute Wanschura agreed that water and energy are topics of particular concern to the swimming pool and wellness industry at the moment. "Water is a vital resource - one that a pool cannot function without. With supplies under threat due to climate change, conserving this resource is now all the more important. For example, we can take pre-emptive action against droughts in midsummer by filling up pools earlier, in the spring." The bsw's Managing Director also commented on the industry's need to find a way to respond to the energy crisis. "To further increase awareness of the importance of energy efficiency, the industry has created the first European environmental standard for private swimming pools. And even before this voluntary agreement, the introduction of technologies and products designed to save water and energy has shown that the industry has been acting responsibly."

The market is also being influenced by other social and political developments such as the increased need for safety, growing health awareness, demographic change and inflation. "As a key industry event, aquanale provides a unique opportunity to find out about all of these topics, discover innovative solutions, be inspired and, above all, exchange ideas and network with colleagues from all over the world. And that's where the true strength of an in-person trade fair lies," explained Wanschura.

Diverse event programme

Visitors can look forward to an attractive and informative programme of events, congresses and workshops. Taking centre stage will be the tenth International Swimming Pool and Wellness Forum (ISWF), organised by the bsw in cooperation with the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) and the Association of German Swimming Supervisors, Lifeguards and Pool Attendants (BDS). On all four days of the trade fair, the latest industry topics, including the new energy standard and the shortage of skilled workers as well as issues relating to sustainability, will be presented in Hall 7 in line with the needs of the target audience. The 2023 EUSA Award will also be integrated into the forum. Another subject covered at the ISWF will be how Switzerland, the partner country of this year's aquanale, is addressing new challenges. With the projects shortlisted for the aqua suisse Award on display, there will be an opportunity to be inspired by dream bathrooms "Made in Switzerland". 

In the EWA Village in Hall 8, the European Waterpark Association (EWA) will be presenting its member companies' capabilities in line with the Green Waterparks theme. The focus here will once again be on dialogue with the industry in order to discuss current topics of interest to operators of fun and leisure pools, water parks and public pools and to promote forward-looking concepts. "A large number of EWA member companies will also take part this year, including Wiegand Mälzer, Roigk, Aquarena, n-tree, Beco Beermann, entervo-access, Vertigo and Klarer," added Matthias Pollmann.



Strategic partnership with Sauna from Finland

For the upcoming event, aquanale has entered into a strategic partnership with the Finnish sauna industry network Sauna from Finland in order to raise the visibility of participating companies from Finland and increase support for their export activities at the leading international industry trade fair. As Anneli Wilska explained: "Our aim is to preserve and promote Finland's unique sauna culture and make it accessible to an international public. Together with Finnish manufacturers, we would like to give visitors to aquanale a taste of our lifestyle." There will be a lounge located at the centre of a special exhibition area organised by Sauna from Finland, which will serve as a relaxation space as well as being a networking hub.

Visit Finland, with the theme Travel & Sauna Destination Finland, will be among the members and partners of the network presenting their products and services around the lounge area. A guided sauna tour will run twice a day to give visitors an opportunity to discover more about Finnish sauna practices and the manufacturers' products. The tour will finish at the Sauna Truck in the outdoor area between Halls 7 and 8, where "löyly" - the traditional Finnish method of throwing water onto hot rocks to create steam - can be tried out, making for a relaxing sauna experience amidst the hustle and bustle of the trade fair. Each day, the programme in the lounge will feature a different additional theme related to the Finnish way of life.

Strong trade fair duo anticipated

Matthias Pollmann is optimistic that the trade fair duo of aquanale and FSB 2023 will regain its former strength after the challenges of recent years. Worldwide, trade fairs are operating at almost the same level as before the coronavirus, in terms of both exhibitors and visitors. That's restoring planning certainty for all participants and, with it, confidence in the power of trade fairs as drivers of trends and business. "We are 100 per cent optimistic that we will enjoy a strong trade fair duo - aquanale and FSB will live up to their claim to be the leading trade fairs for their sectors. I'm already looking forward to exciting, inspiring days at the trade fair as well as a wealth of new ideas and contacts," commented Pollmann.