Stadiums and Tourism development as catalysts: on the fourth day of the congress

New ways of designing major venues

Stadiums are regarded as catalysts for healthy urban development. A homogeneous overall picture is created if they are integrated effectively into the overall urban landscape and well served by infrastructure. "How do planners and operators solve the conflict of multi-events venue, cost efficiency, urban design, sustainability and legacy?" was the question posed by Prof. Geraint John, Honorary Director of the UIA Sports and Leisure Group, acting as the chairman.

Dr Benjamin Flowers presented the latest research findings from Stadia Lab. The research group of the Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA investigated global trends in technology, sustainability and stadium design.

Tomasz Kowalski, President and CEO of BIEG 2012 & AGO of the PGE Arena in Gdansk, is a proponent of the 4C Strategy. Extra income sources can be generated with a combination of events centre, business centre, effectivity centre, and leisure & fun centre.

Appropriate and at the same time cost-effective solutions that also pursue sustainability goals were presented by Daniel Cordey, President of the Association of Global Event Suppliers, with reference to the Water Polo and Basketball Arenas of the London Olympics.

Tourism development and leisure infrastructure

How are operators responding to demographic change and the changing needs of recreation seekers? How does a region equip itself for seasonal fluctuations in attendance figures? The thematic block chaired by Gar Holohan, founder and Chairman of the Irish Aura Holohan Group, drew attention to solutions for the medium- and long-term economic survival of regions dominated by tourism.

Urs Keiser, founding member and Managing Partner of Conim AG, presented two practical examples from Switzerland. After conversion, with the integration of a thermal pool, restaurant and congress area, the pool originally targeted at local users was opened to new visitor groups. Enterprising operators identified the potential of a swimming pool in a skiing region and created added value for tourists and local residents.

A successful example for the healthy revitalisation of a region is the Spreewald Therme (thermal pool) in the southern part of Berlin/Germany. At the beginning of the new millennium, when many thermal pools were drawing inspiration from the Far East, Dr Stefan Kannewischer, Managing Director of Kannewischer Management AG, created a unique identity with an authentic commitment to the region. In the structurally weak region, the Spreewald Therme together with a newly built hotel created 130 jobs. Since 2005, the number of overnight stays has doubled from 300,000 to 600,000.

Grant Poje of WhiteWater West Industries sees aqua parks and leisure pools as elements of resort development and outlined his solutions with reference to three practical examples in Spain. In his view, it is essential to transform theme parks into destination resorts by the addition of themed hotels and developing new business fields in leisure outside the aqua park.