SOURCE: World Indoor Climbing Summit
The second World Indoor Climbing Summit took place on June 19th - 21st, 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria, connecting the C-level experts in the climbing business. It gathered 290 of indoor climbing’s top-players for talks and discussions that are shaping the future of our industry.
How WICS went
The summit presented attendees with lectures and discussion panels on topics ranging from the day one decides to open a gym through planning and construction all the way to day-to- day operations, and a workshop focused on best practices in routesetting. But above all, what made WICS most valuable was the exchange of knowledge and experience between industry experts from 29 countries. They brought new perspectives on the state of the industry all around the globe - from the well-established markets to the developing ones.
What was different about WICS 2019
A highlight of the second edition of WICS was the new topics we introduced. We dug into the secrets of funding through private equity, and we discussed whether restaurants have a place in climbing gyms. The event also reached out to other, more mature industries in order to learn from their experience. We made a panel discussion with highly experienced professionals from the fitness industry. They presented the way they managed the industry’s vast expansion and shared some practices that could be applied by climbing gyms as well.
The pinnacle of the event
The closing talk was a big discussion on the future of climbing that triggered a debate on whether or not the growth climbing is facing will lead to a loss of its character. The opinions were polarized, but people were mostly optimistic that it should not only find a way to retain climbing’s uniqueness, but also capitalize on that to introduce it to a larger audience. There wasn’t a clear prognosis on what to expect in the distant future, but most participants shared that they see new horizons ahead if we’re willing to adapt and respond to the needs of the ever-growing climbing communities.
The grand-finale of WICS 2019
The summit finished with an epic rooftop party celebrating the success of the event, the things learned and the networking made over drinks and late-night dances. Photos of the event can be found on WICS’s FB page. See also interviews with impressions from the speakers on the event’s Youtube channel.
The WICS team is happy the summit became a reality for the second time. All the feedback that has been received is positive and supports the perception of a successful and useful event. Next WICS will take place on September 16th – 18th, 2020, just a month after the Olympics. WICS will be the first climbing business event after Tokyo 2020, and the organizers believe this would be the perfect timing to continue the dialogue on the future of climbing and what awaits the indoor climbing industry after the exposure it receives during the Olympics.