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Review aquanale 2003: the premiere created a trade fair trio in Cologne

aquanale, the International Trade Fair for Sauna.Pool.Ambience, premiered in Cologne in 2003. The new trade fair for the international swimming pool and wellness industry was co-located with FSB – International Trade Fair for Amenity Areas, Sports, and Pool Facilities – and Solaria, the International Trade Fair for Tanning Products and Equipment.

The German Association for Swimming Pools & Wellness (bsw) worked together with the industry’s leading manufacturers and Koelnmesse’s trade fair experts to put together the concept for aquanale in just under ten months and produce all of the documentation and marketing tools required for holding a trade fair. The new trade fair trio’s combination of key topics – swimming pools, saunas, sun beds, sports facilities and leisure – was extremely attractive to visitor target groups from Germany and abroad, and significant synergies were achieved.

As you would expect, the Supervisory Board of Koelnmesse also worked on the concept for the new trade fair. Fritz Schramma, who was serving as the Lord Mayor of Cologne and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at that time, relished the opportunity to cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the first edition of aquanale, on 5 November 2003. He also joined with numerous exhibitors, representatives from associations, journalists and the then President of Koelnmesse, Jochen Witt, to do a grand tour of the trade fair.

The media response before and after the very first aquanale in 2003 was huge– and not just in the global industry media outlets. The new trade fair in Cologne also featured in German media channels, such as RTL (free-to-air TV), WDR (radio) and the business newspaper Handelsblatt. Even the Express, a large tabloid newspaper in the Cologne region, mentioned the trade fair as early as 2 January 2003: A new trade fair in Cologne. From 5–8 November, the first “aquanale” will take place in Cologne. The focus of the new trade fair is on saunas, swimming pools and ambience. 

The trade fair trio started out in halls 11.1/12.1 (aquanale), 13.1./13.2/12.2 (FSB) and 4/11.2 (Solaria) of the cathedral city’s trade fair grounds.

  • ribbon cutting zur aquanale Premiere 2003 in Köln mit (v.l.): bsw-Vizepräsident Bert Granderath, Oberbürgermeister Fritz Schramma, Messechef Jochen Witt, bsw-Geschäftsführer Dieter C. Rangol und Dr. Ernst F. Lange Geschäftstführer vom Bundesverband Saunabau und Dampfbad (BSB)
  • Anspannung und Vorfreude kurz vor der Eröffnung der ersten aquanale 2003 in Köln (v.l.): Dr. Ernst F. Lange (Geschäftsführer Bundesfachverband Saunabau und Dampfbad -BSB) und Dieter C. Rangol (Geschäftsführer Bundesverband Schwimmbad & Wellness - bsw)
  • Freuen sich über den absolut geglückten Start der aquanale 2003 in Köln (v.l): Dieter C. Rangol, Geschäftsführer Bundesverband Schwimmbad & Wellness (bsw) und der damalige Oberbürgermeister der Stadt Köln und Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der Koelnmesse Fritz Schramma
  • Die aquanale-Premiere in 2003 war an allen Messetagen hervorragend besucht
  • Messechef Jochen Witt (l.) besuchte zusammen mit dem Oberbürgermeister der Stadt Köln Fritz Schramma (r.) beim offiziellen Messerundgang über die erste aquanale 2003 auch den Messestand der grando GmbH. Bert Granderath, Geschäftsführer des Rollladenabdeckungspezialisten und Vorsitzender des aquanale-Messebeirates erläuterte am Modell die Besonderheiten seines Abdeckungssystems bei Freiformbecken
  • Original einer Eintrittskarte zur Premiere der aquanale-Messeparty "Aquanight in 2003. Die Aquanight ist seit Jahren weltweit die größte Messeparty der Schwimmbad- und Wellnessbranche
  • 1. aquanale-Key Visual auf dem Kölner Messegelände
  • aquanale 2003
    aquanale 2003
    Einladungsflyer des bsw für Messe-Besucher zur aquanale-Premiere 2003 in Köln
  • aquanale 2003
    aquanale 2003
    Einladungsflyer des bsw für Messe-Besucher zur aquanale-Premiere 2003 in Köln
  • Der Bundesverband Schwimmbad- und Wellness (bsw) präsentierte sich während der aquanale 2003 gemeinsam mit dem Bundesfachverband Saunabau und Dampfbad (BSB) in Halle 11 des Kölner Messegeländes
  • Zusammen mit dem aquanale-Team der Koelnmesse zog auch das bsw-Präsidium bei seiner Sitzung am 9. und 10. Dezember 2003 in Wien eine positive Bilanz der 1. aquanale in Köln

A special highlight of the event programme was the aquanight – a very special kind of trade fair party on the evening of the penultimate day of aquanale. Instead of inviting exhibitors and visitors to have a party in one of the exhibition halls, as is common at many trade fairs, the bsw and Koelnmesse chose to use “Halle Tor 2” as the event space for the aquanight  trade fair party. The venue offered minimalistic, industrial charm and avant-garde decor – and the choice of venue went down brilliantly. Even the premiere was attended by around 600 guests – exhibitors and visitors – from all over the world, who partied into the small hours. For many years now, aquanight  has been the world’s largest trade fair party in the swimming pool and wellness industry, attracting around 1,200 guests from Germany and abroad.

A total of 164 companies from 18 different countries exhibited at the first aquanale to present their products and innovations to more than 13,000 visitors from 42 countries. The exhibitors were full of praise for the exceptional quality of the visitor profile and confirmed that the event in Cologne had attracted the industry’s key decision makers.

So the Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse at the time, Oliver P. Kuhrt, had good reason to be optimistic about the future of aquanale. On 8 November 2003, he stated: “The excellent growth prospects of aquanale are evident in the firm commitment that numerous exhibitors have already made to participate in the trade fair in Cologne in 2005 and consolidating their presence at this event. And it has been wonderful to have many in-depth conversations with representatives from companies that will be first-time exhibitors at the next aquanale.” What was also interesting was that an independent survey of visitors showed that at the first aquanale in 2003, builders of swimming pools and hotel pools represented the greatest source of demand, followed by architects and planners for public pool facilities.

18 years later, the tenth edition of aquanale is taking place from 26–29 October 2021. The globally renowned trade fair within the swimming pool and wellness industry will therefore be celebrating its anniversary.

In October, the International Trade Fair for Sauna. Pool. Ambience, will occupy Halls 7 and 8. aquanale will include the topics of private swimming pools, public pool construction, swimming pool technology, saunas and spas (both public and private) and green living. aquanale 2021 aims to build on its outstanding results from November 2019: The 2019 event had yet again achieved further impressive growth in its international reach and a further improvement in quality on both the supply and demand sides. Nearly 28,000 visitors from 128 countries attended to find out about the range of services offered by the 281 exhibiting companies from 31 countries.


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