©EDSA | Insights | Make a Splash | Aquaventure Dubai

Get your sunscreen ready because summer is here. And with nearly half the nation gearing up for a getaway (NerdWallet), anticipation is building among vacation-goers eager to indulge in one of tourism’s most alluring and adventurous assets: the waterpark.

Waterparks have become a pivotal feature for many hospitality and entertainment properties, significantly boosting their appeal and revenue. According to industry reports, resorts with waterparks experience a 20-30 percent increase in occupancy rates compared to those without. This popularity is driven by the aquatic attractions they offer, from thrilling waterslides and wave pools to surf lagoons, lazy rivers, and interactive play areas. Such well-designed amenities can achieve profit margins of 50 percent or more, as noted by Attractions Management, and families consistently rank waterparks as one of the top three amenities they seek when choosing a vacation destination.

However, determining the right mix of attractions for long-term success, achieving thematic consistency and managing guest flow can be challenging. Decisions about sustainability, operational efficiency, comfort and accessibility, implementing resource conservation practices, or designing for safety and enjoyment, are crucial for shaping the guest experience. As designers specializing in water-based attractions, we use our strategic insights and expertise to help owners and operators create memorable, exciting experiences that keep guests coming back year after year.

©EDSA | Insights | Make a Splash | Tidal Cove

According to, family accommodation searches have increased by 64 percent compared to 2023, highlighting the importance of well-rounded, water-based amenities to meet the growing demand for recreational travel. So, while young children are captivated by splash pads with water cannons, teens seek thrilling activities like water obstacle courses and large drop slides to stay active and engaged. Meanwhile, adults prefer more relaxed experiences, making shaded lounging areas, lap pools, and lazy rivers ideal for unwinding. This blend of active and passive zones allows each family member to create their own unique experience, fostering a multi-generational environment that appeals to all ages.

Providing guests with a wide range of possibilities shouldn’t stop at the waterpark. By viewing it as one piece of the overall property puzzle, opportunities for additional revenue from land-based attractions can further enhance a visitor’s stay. Retail shops, food and beverage outlets, cabanas and VIP areas make a significant difference. There’s a reason why such components generate a whopping $12 billion for Disney parks each year. Luxury shopping, tranquil dining and spa service options create a wind-down relaxing atmosphere, while high-energy programs like rock climbing or go-karts bring the thrill ashore. This comprehensive model extends the water experience and provides value for longer stays and return visitation.

©EDSA | Insights | Make a Splash | Atlantis Sanya

Regardless of size, location or features, all waterparks can benefit from a clear story of place, as it engages the senses and draws guests into a world full of excitement and discovery. Whether transporting visitors to tropical paradises, pirate coves, or prehistoric jungles, the site design, narrative and detailing must blend natural beauty, innovation and functionality. For example, Aquaventure World in Dubai tells the mythical story of Atlantis through subject-based slides and attractions, while Tidal Cove in Aventura, Florida, creates a year-round summertime atmosphere with tropical plantings and ice cream and candy-inspired playscapes to provide a lively, summertime feel. Despite aesthetic differences, both properties integrate their themes throughout the site. Their distinct vibes also translate to adjacent areas via carefully crafted circulation, landscape, hardscape and wayfinding.

All in all, waterparks are a $5.7 billion industry. And with The World Waterpark Association monitoring over 200 aquatics projects currently in progress, the question arises: how does one differentiate their property? By crafting a seamless, engaging and immersive environment that appeals to people from all walks of life, water-based amenities offer an edge in a competitive market. If you are interested in learning more about EDSA’s expertise, please reach out to our Entertainment Team at [email protected].