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Pool and spa organizations from 15 countries have agreed to unite and form a group meant to collect data and explore common issues shared by the industry around the world.

Called the World Alliance of Pool and Spa Associations, the group met at Aquanale, a trade show that takes place in Cologne, Germany every two years. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals is part of the group.

At Aquanale, the associations identified three areas that all pool and spa industries have in common, regardless of the country of origin: statistics and data to indicate market activity around the world; industry education; and safety, in terms of how to build the best product, write standards and how to communicate with consumers about the subject.

“Those three issues kind of bubbled to the top,” said Rich Gottwald, president/CEO of APSP. “It became apparent that we all deal with the same things.”

For now, the alliance has created a task group for each of these subjects to collect data, and explore next moves and strategies over the upcoming year through video conference. This is meant as a first step for the associations to develop a working relationship and trust.

At some point, they may move on to more complicated tasks such as unifying manufacturing standards from nation to nation – something APSP has sought to address in its affiliation agreements with countries such as Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Ireland.

“More and more, our manufacturer members are selling into markets around the world, and they need to understand what’s happening with respect to standards and best practices,” Gottwald said. “We want to make sure that the standards that are adopted in Europe are the same or nearly the same as what’s happening in The States, so manufacturers don’t have to make specific products to go into different markets.”

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