In this issue, the Managing Director of the BSPF (British Swimming Pool Federation), Chris Hayes, gives Eurospapoolnews readers some updates on what has been happening in the UK wet leisure sector over the past twelve months.

How the UK Wet Leisure Industry is Pooling Its Resources 

He also points to some key items planned for 2024 and shares the benefits of working with industry colleagues from SMEs (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises) to the big players, corporations and brands, as well as the government agencies and departments, local authorities, national institutes and fellow industry organisations. 

"I am sure that no industry has been untouched by the events worldwide that have created ongoing uncertainty, ranging from rising energy prices, increases in raw material costs, and an economic downturn. The turbulent influences continue to impact UK households, the economy, and businesses at home and overseas. However, there is strength in working together (where appropriate) to overcome issues, and great value is placed on the expertise to help guide our industry. This is the merit of having robust and well-developed organisations leading the way for any industry, helping to carve a way forward with the steadiness of fundamentally grounded practices and excellent working relationships with industry peers, like-minded associations from other industries, and government (at local and national level). 

©BISHTA member - SpaFlo -

Strength in numbers

"Having a unified voice for the wet leisure industry allows better dialogue with the government and other relevant organisations that impact our industry. Providing wider opportunities to ensure an effective communication system is in place to update the industry on upcoming issues, the BSPF brings together the following industry organisations: BISHTA (British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association), SPATA (Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association), SPATEX (the annual trade exhibition), and PIP (Pool Industry Promotions). The STA (the World's largest swim teaching and lifesaving organisation) are also a BSPF member, bringing much-appreciated expertise to the conversation. 

The BSPF is managed by a board of representatives from BISHTA, SPATA, SPATEX, and PIP, and each organisation has its committees formed from its members working in an advisory and guidance capacity to agree on the work of these organisations representing the Wet Leisure Industry. The way of working is enormously successful, not only for the considerable amount of activity achieved from working in unison but also from the voice it provides to members and the wider UK industry to represent the views and to seek development and change, where applicable. 

The organisations mentioned above highly value the opportunities to work with and obtain feedback from their association members, exhibitors, and industry peers. Working together as an industry offers many advantages and benefits that contribute to the overall success and growth of the participating businesses and the industry. 

©SPATA member - XL Pools -

Great value in expertise

"With a wealth of Wet Leisure Industry experience, the BSPF (established in 1999), SPATEX (established in 1996), PIP (established in 1996), SPATA (initially established in 1961 as the Association of Swimming Pool Contractors), and BISHTA (established in 2001), the UK family of organisations have experienced many changes and developments over time. Our industry is very different now compared to its beginnings, but the grounding was created by the knowledge, expertise, and foresight of industry leaders, who saw the value of working together to build a stronger industry. We have grown through the changes with fresh approaches to benchmarking, working practices, standards, and guidance. 

Today, this comes from combining forces and sharing information even further afield, made even more accessible with the rapid growth of technology, with online meetings now an everyday tool. However, meeting face-to-face is still a valuable way to do business, as we experience at our many industry shows across the globe, including at SPATEX. People do business with people, and there is nothing quite like getting together in person to get fired up and enthused, seeing, touching and experiencing new products, and meeting with peers for a catch-up. 

©SPATA member - Cresta Leisure -

Bringing the industry together

"The annual Industry Gala Evening hosted by the BSPF during SPATEX at the Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, UK, on Tuesday, 6th February 2024, is the largest of the many opportunities for the industry to come together. The Gala Evening is open to everyone in the industry, welcoming trade association members and non-members, trade customers, non-trade visitors, and colleagues from overseas. 

The Gala Evening features the re-presentation of the 2023 ISPE (Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers) Awards and the 2024 British Pool & Hot Tub Awards hosted by SPATA and BISHTA. The event continues to grow year after year, attracting over 250 guests to this extravaganza of awards, networking, dinner, dance and live entertainment.

Along with this gala event, the industry diary dates calendar published by the BSPF on its website throughout the year details the range of industry event opportunities. SPATA and BISHTA also publish events on their websites (and through the weekly member's e-newsletter), which range from webinars and training to regional meetings and the annual Information and Networking Days. 

SPATEX's invaluable role in the industry 

"As with many exhibitions around the World, its primary purpose is to promote trade and offer networking opportunities. The quality of the exhibition stands has continued to increase, leading to a better experience for visitors.

As the industry owns the show, the profits raised from SPATEX are ploughed back into supporting the promotion of the wet leisure sector and supporting new initiatives in the UK. The SPATEX Foundation continues to assist with targeted funding in categories such as:

  • Training
  • Education
  • Research
  • Sponsorship / Charitable donations

Applications can be made to the SPATEX Foundation using the official application form available to download via the website at any time of the year.  

At SPATEX, I always look forward to seeing the latest information from the Wet Leisure Survey undertaken by Golden Coast / Pollet Pool Group (with support from the BSPF and several other bodies and media supporters). This gives a snapshot of those completing the survey to get some understanding of the views being expressed. 

Meet the BSPF president and committee chairs

"There is a great deal of work that goes into the roles of the federation and the trade associations, and this is exceptionally well supported by the BSPF president, the committee chairs, the committee members (including the technical committees), the PIP Committee and the SPATEX Board, who are all people with their fingers on the pulse of the wet leisure industry. 

At this year's annual Industry Gala Evening, we will celebrate the two-year term in office of the current BSPF President, Pete Grinnall (Complete Spas), and thank him for his commitment. Pete remains Vice-Chair of the BISHTA Committee and is a BISHTA representative on the BSPF Board.  

We will also welcome Dyfed Thompson-Smith (Astralpool UK) as the incoming BSPF President at the Industry Gala Evening, where he will be presented with the chain of office by Pete Grinnall. Dyfed has stepped down as the PIP (Pool Industry Promotions) Committee chair to take on his new role as BSPF President. Mark Ramsden (CPC) will take over the PIP Chair position. Jon Herbert has taken on the role of Chairing the SPATA National Council, and Dorian Davies (Doric Marketing) remains the BISHTA Chair. We are, as ever, enormously grateful for the support of the people mentioned above who help shape the work programme to aid members and the wider industry, where applicable.

©BISHTA member - Hydropool Devon -

Working together for the benefit of the industry 

"An essential role of the BSPF, SPATA, SPATEX and BISHTA is to work with our colleagues from British government agencies and departments, local authorities, national institutes and fellow industry organisations. This helps keep us abreast of issues affecting business across our industry, helps safeguard our industry, and prepares us for how we can support member companies. 

This year, we have worked closely with the Home Office to share updates on The Control of Explosives Precursors and Poisons Regulations 2023 to 'sell chemicals responsibly'. With our industry being at the front end in the sale, transportation, distribution and use of pool and spa chemicals, it is crucial for our members to be aware of their responsibilities and have the knowledge and information they need to share with their teams and the supply chain. 

We have also continued our dialogue and sharing information and guidance from (and with) the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), PWTAG (Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group), the ISPE (Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers), STA (Swimming Teachers Association), Swim England, RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) as well as other colleagues who are members of the NWSF (National Water Safety Forum). 

Sharing Ideas with our colleagues in Europe and around the World

"Working with national pool and spa associations in Europe and Worldwide to share ideas and learn from each other provides an excellent opportunity for our industry. Meetings occur at least twice per year with colleagues from the European Union of Swimming Pool and Spa Associations (EUSA) and at least once yearly with colleagues from the World Alliance of Pool and Spa Associations (WAPSA). EUSA comprises twelve countries, and WAPSA adds another nine countries to the network. 

WAPSA held their seventh meeting in Barcelona, with many attendees present in this great city, and some attendees were online. There were updates on the latest survey results covering data/statistics & safety, education, and environmental sustainability. 

The WAPSA meeting raised interest in environmental matters and how our industry must become more carbon-neutral over the next decade. With so many companies committed to finding solutions to reduce energy and water consumption, I look forward to seeing these messages reinforced at SPATEX. 

Make sure you thoroughly plan your visit to SPATEX, as there is so much to see and do; you may even want to extend your stay so as not to miss out on any of the exhibitors, education sessions, or entertainment! "