Water parks increasing their admission fees, family tickets less affected
Aquatic centers and spas are increasing their prices to offset the loss caused by higher electricity bills. This has not, however, caused a decrease in visitor numbers.
When electricity prices reached record highs in the summer, many aquatic facilities were worried about rising costs since, unlike office spaces, which can lower their inside temperatures, cool swimming pools with chilly pool water would result in a quick loss of visitors.
The electricity cost increase is now reflected in prices: many water parks raised ticket prices this fall, with the average price increase being about 10 percent.
The ticket prices at Laulasmaa Spa were increased on October 17 and their opening hours have been slightly reduced. Anne Mallene, the spa's chief executive officer, told ERR that they had not raised prices prior to this year and that the present price increase is a result of general price hikes, particularly in energy sector.
The price of a family ticket did not change, but the price of an individual ticket increased by 10 percent. Sunday through Thursday hours were shortened by one hour, as the majority of visitors came swimming immediately after work and there were very few customers between 21:00 and 22:00.
Spa Tours OÜ is the owner of the Tallinn Viimsi Spa, Atlantis H2O Aquapark, and Ring spa center in õismäe, as well as the Grand Rose SPA Hotel in Saarema and the Narva-Jõesuu Meresuu Spa Hotel.
Kalle Kuusik, a member of the company's management board, said that the average price of tickets has climbed by five to 10 percent, while the price of family tickets has remained unchanged.
"We have tried to keep family ticket prices as low as possible so that families with many children could come. In addition, a large-family ticket offers a discount at our õismäe and viimsi spas, as well as at the Meresuu and Grand Rose spas," he continued.
Two saunas at Viimsi Spa will close at noon, but no other energy-saving measures have been implemented.
This autumn, the Aqva spa in Rakvere also hiked its prices. Roman Kusma, the center's manager, said that the price increase was about 10 percent and there have been no further changes to the water temperature, air or opening hours.
He said that rising energy prices and wage hikes were to blame for the price increase. "The cost of electricity is a major factor in the ticket pricing hike. Even though the price of electricity has doubled many times, we cannot increase the price of our tickets that much. You have to make sure that people are still able to use the service," Kusma said.
Kairi Jekääru, head of sales and marketing for the Estonia Spa Hotels in Pärnu, a completely new pricing system was implemented at the Medical Spa center on October 1. The price remained unchanged, but the pricing logic did. For example, the morning sauna and swimming no longer require a separate ticket; instead, the price is €16 during the week and €24 on weekends, regardless of time of day. Because the change is new, the organization is still assessing how customers will respond to it. Costs at the spa at the Estonia Resort Hotel, which is part of the same chain, were already raised in the second half of the summer.
Spa center representatives, the price increase has had no effect on the number of spa visitors thus far. People, Mallene said, understand that this is unavoidable.
"We hope it will get easier. It's difficult for all of us right now - families, jobs. The spa is very energy-intensive; some facilities have changed the temperature of the pool water and the building as a whole, but we haven't done that and we still have 28 degrees in the regular pool and 32 degrees in the children's pool, which is why people come with small children," Mallene explained.
"I hope prices don't go up any further," Kuusik said about the future. "There is more talk now about prices being held back, which hopefully will happen, and the same is true for electricity prices."
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Editor: Kristina Kersa