Asian Property Review interviews Emre Buyukgungor, Regional Sales Director (SEA), of Polin Waterparks, one of the top waterpark designers in the world on how waterparks work.

1. How do the designers get the idea for the various waterpark designs?
We have a great design team where they are pushing themselves with every project to be unique and increase visitor experience. When they design a park, they look through the visitor’s lens and experience the whole park for themselves to find out what visitors would want to see in the park. As we have the widest range of waterslides and attractions in the industry, we have quite a lot of options to pick and propose in the projects.
2. Which is the most popular ride among the installations around the world so far?
We have many award-winning waterslides and every year we continue to introduce another new attraction. Polin introduced RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) Technology into the industry in 2006 and since then we have changed all our production line to RTM. This RTM technology gives us flexibility on designing a themed waterslide which becomes itself a theming element in the park combined with unparalleled design, intense rider experiences and creative theming.
King Cobra is the fist waterslide to offer a theme built into its fiberglass design. And it doesn’t have to be based on a cobra – we are creating an Armadillo-themed version for a project in China, Humungousaur Ben10-themed version for Cartoon Network project, a ship-themed one for a project in Indonesia and Rogue wave-themed one for Splash World project In Malaysia.
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3. How do you ensure the slides/rides are safe?
Safety is a priority in our slides. Everything starts with design as production and installation should follow the design to be sure about the ride safety.
Our designs are based on EN 1069 norms and we are the only waterslide company in the world where all our waterslides are approved by TÜV SÜD according to EN 1069-1:2020. Our designs also comply with ASTM norms and CSEI standards.
4. What are the pros and cons of a waterpark compared to a land theme park?
Waterparks, especially in Southeast Asian Region, are quite popular due to the tropical climate and season length. During the day, people prefer to go to waterparks to enjoy the water rides when the weather is quite hot. Waterparks are for every age as families or groups of friends enjoy the rides together and share their happiness. There are rides for all age groups including relaxing and fun attractions such as lazy river, wave pool, and surf simulators to enhance the overall experience in the park.
Operations-wise, maintenance is important in waterparks but not as critical as land theme parks since our equipment are mostly composite materials while theme parks have many mechanical equipment.
5. What are the factors you need to consider when building a waterpark on top of a building or a cruise ship?
Designing a waterpark on top of a building or on a cruise ship is a challenge as there are many limitations due to limited available area and surrounding structures. Designing a waterpark in such a limited environment while keeping the visitor expectations high requires a combination of design skills and efficient engineering solutions.
6. Which are the countries where some of your slides are built?
We have completed more than 3,000 waterpark projects over 105 countries including China, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, and Brunei.
7. How does a waterpark (or any amusement park) contribute to the surrounding areas, for example, providing employment, raising demand for properties, building more infrastructure, etc.
Waterparks are a good example of a development that can cause rising demand for properties and more developments in the surrounding area. Thre are many ongoing projects all around the world where this is happening as people are willing to buy properties with a waterpark inside.
Waterparks also create new employment opportunities to the surrounding areas in addition to the human resource requirements in the waterparks themselves.
8. What is the average length of time before a
waterpark becomes profitable?
In general, the ROI timeframe on waterparks is around 2.5 -3.5 years. Th ROI also depends on the value of the land, construction costs and type of the park (Indoor/Outdoor). In some regions, it may be shorter while longer in others. But overall, waterparks are one of the best developments for investment in Asia.
9. What is the ideal land area needed for a decent size waterpark?
The ideal land for a waterpark depends on the expected number of visitors to the park and their expectations. In some regions, waterparks are built on large land areas while in others, the same number of attractions fits into smaller land areas. Other than rides inside, the size of the area also depends on whether the waterpark is integrated into a resort or is a standalone waterpark; and also whether it is retail/F&B focused or ride-focused.
10. How many rides or attractions are there typically in a waterpark to make visitors return again and again?
The number of attractions and the design are the key elements that attract visitors to the park but the quality of operation, visitor satisfaction, and total cleanliness and hygiene are the other critical factors that make visitors come back again and again. As a designer and builder, we always pay attention to our designs to put enough attractions for all age groups according to the demographics of the region as thrill slides or high capacity family slides are quite popular in some regions while not so in others.
11. On average, how many new designs in a year does Polin come up with?
On average, we propose around 1,000 new designs in a year to encourage the investors/land developers to consider waterparks as a feasible and profitable asset in their investment plans.

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