Interview with José María Cama, Waterworld, Lloret de Mar

Some days ago we had the chance of chatting with José María Cama, the founder and alma mater of Waterworld, one of Spain’s senior and successful waterparks.

José María is an example of dedication and love to waterparks and a model impresario. We would like to share with you some of the anecdotes and information from our talk.

“Waterworld opened in 1985 and was one of Spain’s first waterparks. The park, which currently has an area of more than 14 hectares, started out smaller in size and we have extended over time to respond to demand and to adjust our offer to market trends and our clientele’s needs. We survey our visitors to manage and prioritise improvements and new facilities.

When we started out on our adventure, there were no waterparks in Spain, so we had draw on imagination, enthusiasm and hard work. 30 years later, we realise we did make mistakes, but we also performed miracles with a reduced investment and it makes us proud to look back and see what we’ve achieved. Millions of satisfied visitors and a park with international standards and acclaim.

The park has a capacity of 5,000 people. We’re aware that this could be greater, given the area we have, but we prefer to have fewer well-attended clients that are more comfortable, with sufficient space. One of the park’s aspects that is most liked by our guests and what differentiates us from the competition, are precisely those large spaces and the careful gardening and landscaping.

Waterworld is well received amongst all kinds of people: we welcome families, couples, teenagers, as we have something for everyone. There are approximately 30% local tourists and 70% foreign tourists, which is normal as Lloret de Mar is a tourist destination with high numbers of foreign visitors. Commercially, we work a lot with agencies, tour operators and social media to publicise our product and gain customers.

Managing a park with seasonal opening is complicated. The main challenge is the personnel. In Waterworld we have a fixed team of 20 people throughout the year, a number that increases to 110 during the season. It’s essential to find and work with an adequate team for the park to operate correctly. We invest a great deal in training our personnel, as it’s vital that guests feel happy”.

Discussing some economic aspects, José María provided us with the following data:

“The most important cost in the park is undoubtedly the personnel. The annual budget for facility maintenance and renovation is usually around 30%. The additional services offered by the park, (cloakrooms, hammocks, etc.), represent 20% of the park’s revenue”.

We finished the conversation talking about the future:

“The sector changes very quickly and you have to adapt to these changes, however, we are optimists. Just as when we started, we look to the future with hope and doing things as well as we have done during these last 30 years, we believe that we will continue to be successful with our public”.