SUMMER IS AROUND the corner and the waterparks will soon be springing up like flowers of profit, according to projections by Hotel & Leisure Advisors. H&LA is projecting $1 billion in investment for those facilities and their related resorts in 2019.
H&LA also expects 21 municipal and private outdoor waterparks will open and three resorts will add or expand outdoor parks this year. Another 629,200 square feet of new interior waterpark space is expected to open in 12 properties.
Three of this year’s most anticipated and expensive new waterparks are all indoor facilities,” H&LA said. “They include the 225,000-square-foot DreamWorks Waterpark at American Dream Mall in Rutherford, New Jersey; the 350-room Great Wolf Lodge with an 85,000-square-foot indoor waterpark in Scottsdale, Arizona; and the 324-room Kartrite Resort with an 80,000-square-foot indoor facility in Monticello, New York.”
The U.S. and Canada already had a total of 1,158 waterparks as of March. Thirty-three waterparks opened in 2018, most of which were standalone outdoor parks but three were at resorts. The Midwest and South are home to the most waterparks, with 412 and 380 respectively, while the South leads its regional rival in the number of outdoor parks, 297 to 289. The South also leads in resorts with outdoor waterparks with 47.
While four hotels and resorts opened outdoor aquatic parks in 2018, that segment shows the least expansion. That is expected to be the same in 2019. Though there will be a greater increase in total resort waterpark area, fewer new resort rooms are planned. Fourteen standalone indoor waterparks and resort expansions or new builds will contribute 609,200 square feet of space and nearly 1,000 new rooms.
The overall news for the year is positive.
“For 2019, we will see growth across all segments of the waterpark market with openings of 33 facilities,” H&LA said. “We also anticipate expansions of almost 20 existing facilities. The year ahead will continue with modest growth seen previously but will also bring more innovation and progress for the industry.”
The H&LA report was just as positive in 2016 when it saw more than $550 million in new investment in indoor and outdoor parks and their related resorts.