Top Five 2023 Trends & Predictions from WhiteWater’s Global Head of Sales

As we turn the calendar and toast the new year, it’s time to get excited about what’s in store for the attractions industry in 2023. As WhiteWater’s Global Head of Sales, I’d like to share my top trends and predictions based on conversations I’ve had with clients, developers, colleagues, and other professional peers in the past year. We, as an industry, will hopefully all find fruitful opportunities in the following.

Unpause and play—investments are moving full steam ahead

This past year, as different markets revived at different times, we have seen projects picking up where they have left off in 2020. In 2023, we will continue to see investments in the attractions industry match or even exceed pre-Covid levels. Besides water parks and theme parks, venues such as hotels and resorts, mixed-use development, and even zoos are looking to diversify their offerings with water attractions.

Father and two children at hotel water park

Surf is booming—capitalize on the demand

A recent report by Global Industry Analysts projects the global surfing market to expand to $4.8 billion by 2027, with growth across the U.S., Europe, and APAC, with no signs of slowing. The International Surfing Association estimates the worldwide surfer population to be 35 million with rising female participation. It is no wonder that we are seeing developers around the world excited about the future of surf parks, with the Brazilian surf legend Gabriel Medina and his investment firm partnering with WhiteWater’s Endless Surf to build a handful of surf parks in his home country.

Rendering of large surf park with beach

Consumers expect digital convenience and personalized experience

One headline in Forbes magazine in December said, “Gen Z Habits Disrupting the Travel Industry.” As this generation shapes the future of guest experience, it should come as no surprise that the article urges businesses in this industry to prioritize technology. Not exclusive to young people, the proliferation of mobile phones has us expecting personalization and digital convenience in so many areas of our lives, and the attractions industry is no exception.

Pressing need for products and services that reduce staff headcount

Staffing shortages in the attractions industry made headlines when the season opened in 2022. You probably already suspect that the problem isn’t going away anytime soon. Look for an increase in products and services that can safely reduce the number of staff. These could be automation through digital advances, equipment with fewer parts to maintain or constructed with easy access to maintenance, or even complete maintenance packages to get the job done without the associated headcount.

People walking a water slide to inspect

Increasing legislation for sustainability requirements

Sustainability is not just a buzz word and not just a consumer demand; it’s becoming legislation. Whether in construction or in our daily lives, regulations in environmental sustainability are picking up pace around the world. WhiteWater’s home country of Canada, for example, has just banned the import and manufacture of harmful single-use plastics. Our Sales Operations Team is seeing more and more requests for proposals that have sustainability requirements. Now is the time for our industry to integrate environmental aspects into our way of doing business.

I’m optimistic about the year ahead and look forward to seeing how these trends develop over the next 12 months. I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, please let me know at