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, bringing new perspectives on the state of the industry all around the globe - from the well-established markets to the developing ones.
A highlight of the second edition of WICS was the introduction of new topics. We spoke about funding through private equity and whether restaurants have a place in climbing gyms. We also reached out to other, more mature, industries in an attempt to learn from them and 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 apply to climbing gyms as well.
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 we 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 summit finished with an epic rooftop party celebrating the success of the event, the things learned and the connections made over drinks and late-night dances. It was a pleasure to host climbing industry experts from all over the world once again for the second edition of WICS. We are inspired to grow and improve it even more. Stay tuned for the dates of the next edition.
Photos of the event can be found on WICS’s FB page.