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Why do smaller theme parks in the UK seem to struggle more than similarly sized equivalents abroad?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. The recent discussion surrounding the possible removal of Apocalypse from Drayton Manor got me thinking about something; Drayton Manor has been struggling a bit (or at least had been until Looping Group purchased the park) for quite a few years now. However, it was revealed when Looping Group purchased the park last year that 1.2 million guests still visited the park in 2019. That seemed like a surprisingly large number to me given Drayton Manor’s well-documented struggles throughout the latter half of the 2010s.

It also surprised me because there are a number of parks abroad that get smaller visitor figures, but seem to have a far more prosperous future ahead of them, and are investing in things that if in the UK, would arguably give the bigger players a run for their money.

Take, for instance, Plopsaland de Panne. In 2021, they are opening Ride to Happiness, a Mack Xtreme Spinning Coaster that is making enthusiasts from across the world eager to book plane tickets to Belgium when travel restrictions ease (well, that and Kondaa at Walibi Belgium, but that’s besides the point). This comes only 4 years after they opened Heidi the Ride, a GCI wooden rollercoaster, and they seem to have been making fairly hefty investments in between these two coasters, such as into a large hotel. In terms of visitor figures, I get the impression they’re fairly similar to Drayton Manor’s, if not possibly lower. Admittedly, Plopsaland de Panne may not be the best example to use, given that they have the backing of Studio 100, but still; for a park that only gets ~1-1.5m guests per year, a Mack Xtreme Spinning Coaster is a big-bucks investment!

Another example I could cite is Toverland. In 2018, they invested a substantial amount of money into Fenix, a B&M wing coaster, alongside Avalon and Port Laguna. This wasn’t too long after Maximus Blitz Bahn in 2015 (I think?) and not an eternity after they built Magische Vallei and Dwervelwind in 2012. They are also allegedly thinking of building a hotel in the near future. If in the UK, this level of investment would almost rival a major park like Alton Towers or Thorpe Park as opposed to a smaller, mid-size park. But as far as I’m aware, Toverland is still yet to hit the magic milestone of 1 million guests.

I’d be here all day if I cited every example in Europe, but you get my basic point.

Even if you leave Europe and go stateside, there are similar examples of flourishing smaller theme parks over in the USA. Take a park like Holiday World, for instance; they can’t get much more than 1 million guests, but they have a world-renowned selection of wooden roller coasters, a world-renowned waterpark in Splashin’ Safari, and didn’t long build a huge B&M launched wing coaster in Thunderbird. Or a park like Lagoon; they’ve cranked out some really wacky-looking custom installations over the last few years that are sometimes utterly huge in size for a park of Lagoon’s scale (Cannibal is an absolutely monstrous coaster, and the upcoming Primordial looks pretty large-scale too), as well as refurbishing their classic wooden roller coaster Roller Coaster, and I can’t imagine they get a huge number of visitors. Also, take somewhere like Kentucky Kingdom; I can’t imagine they get many more visitors, if any, than somewhere like Oakwood or Pleasurewood Hills in the UK, but they seem to be cranking out coasters every few years (Storm Chaser in 2016, Kentucky Flyer in 2019 and possible RMC Raptor in 2022/2023), with decent flat ride investments in between, as well as having a fairly big waterpark.

So my question to you today is; why do the UK’s smaller theme parks generally seem to struggle far more than similarly sized equivalents abroad? Why is Plopsaland de Panne having such success, while Drayton Manor is struggling? Why is Kentucky Kingdom prospering, while Lightwater Valley is fighting for survival? Of course, the UK does have its outliers in this regard (places like Paultons and Flamingo Land come to mind), but why does the general outlook for smaller parks in Britain seem more negative than it does for similarly sized parks abroad?
 

Bentleya

Member
I personally just put it down to the overall cost of running a business in the UK. Labour is expensive, insurance is expensive, energy is expensive and land rent is expensive.

And probably the most important thing, the cost of building is ridiculous expensive in the UK.

Combined with the fact you can’t charge what you should charge to gain entry to a park - as competition elsewhere keeps the cost at a certain level.

I run a business, all be it pretty much closed at the moment due to COVID - but we employ around 10 people and our costs are around £300,000 a year just with the fore mentioned and I can only imagine the running costs of some of these places.
 
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Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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It's a really good question!

As far as I can tell, Drayton Manor charged £25 for entry in 2020 (online price) and draws around 1.5 million visitors in a normal year. Its last noteworthy attraction was, uhh, a Vekoma Boomerang in 2011 and a slew of minor Zamperla flats over the last decade.

Djurs Sommerland has a normal ticket price of £35, gets 800,000 visitors per year, and seems to build new rides all the time.

It would surprise me greatly if construction and staffing costs were higher in Britain than in Denmark. Yet Djurs appears to be crushing it while having half the attendance of Drayton, which is said to be "struggling". That really baffles me.
 

GregBoxall

New Member
I don't think the Merlin annual pass has helped the smaller parks in the UK. Why pay for entry to multiple independent parks and attractions when some of the best ones in the country can be accessed for a monthly payment.

The UK is also a very small country, it doesn't take long to get to any of our parks. Families that only have one or two trips a year would probably prefer to spend that money at one of the larger, more established parks where there's something for the whole family.
 

roomraider

Best Topic Starter
It's a really good question!

As far as I can tell, Drayton Manor charged £25 for entry in 2020 (online price) and draws around 1.5 million visitors in a normal year. Its last noteworthy attraction was, uhh, a Vekoma Boomerang in 2011 and a slew of minor Zamperla flats over the last decade.

Djurs Sommerland has a normal ticket price of £35, gets 800,000 visitors per year, and seems to build new rides all the time.

It would surprise me greatly if construction and staffing costs were higher in Britain than in Denmark. Yet Djurs appears to be crushing it while having half the attendance of Drayton, which is said to be "struggling". That really baffles me.
It's a good point. Using those numbers in a perfect world where everyone pays full price Djurs should be raking in around £28 million a year from ticket sales while Drayton would get significantly more at £37.5 million.

It doesn't sound like the issue is that Drayton doesn't get the numbers through the door. But that the issues are either on the expenses side with much higher rental and employment costs or maybe in the UK we just don't spend as much in the park once we get there?

It's hard to judge without knowing the accounting details but Drayton seem to get the numbers through the door but don't make the money. I'd guess that what's been said before is right and their overheads are much higher? Which would be surprising compared to Denmark. But if its not that then what?
 

Hixee

Flojector
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Some random thoughts (I might consider a more padded out post at some point in the future):
  • Taxes?
  • Government subsidies on operating?
  • Government subsidies on new rides?
  • EU funding (BUT ENERGYLANDIAAAAA)
Jumping off @Pokemaniac's and @roomraider's posts - I wonder if there's another factor at play.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Perhaps it's more related to decisions on how much of that profit is put back into new rides etc rather than how much is made?

Drayton is also perhaps not a good comparison to Djurs as they have animals to feed and care for in the closed season which will no doubt be a considerable cost in wages, heating etc over half the year that they are closed (most animal only attractions in the UK stay open all year probably due to this).

I think in general the tourism industry has taken a hit in the UK since the 90s and never has properly rebounded back. I guess you could say the same for a lot of industries and likely abroad too but you can really see it in the UK. Many seaside resorts took a hit in the 80s/90s or even before as people started to go abroad more and now some UK locations have an image problem, such as Blackpool, Southport, Margate etc. It's not longer trendy to go to Great Yarmouth, Skegness or South Wales on holiday. Everyone now wants Benidorm, Dubrovnik and the Bahamas. A budget holiday in Spain is often cheaper than staying in the UK. Butlins is a really good example of the change. It used to be the height of fashion back in the 50s and 60s with 8 UK camps built but now they're fighting to change their image to become relevant again with only 3 camps left. I think the UK fair industry has struggled with it's image a bit compared to some countries (e.g. US and Germany) although we still do have a decent line-up in that field.

Obviously other countries will have seem similar declines but I think it is really notable in the UK, especially considering our limited weather, size and high land prices. I think because we have so much coastline so many resorts were created in the boom eras that simply couldn't all be supported later down the line which now highlights the decline. Again, obviously not all parks are by the sea but a lot of our tourist heritage and it's all interlinked with how the industry is doing as a whole and whether people want to invest in it.

Interestingly we might see a change in this for the next year as people look closer to home for holidays. The seaside parks I visited last year were all pretty busy and I expect we'll see that again this summer if we're allowed out. Hopefully it will bring about some positive change after so much many negative changes.

It's obviously not clear cut as you see parks like Paultons thriving and Drayton seemingly falling in the same economy. There are so many factors at play.
 
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Also the UK being an island, the UK theme park market......Is mainly limited just to UK residence! So our Catchment area on an international scale is limited! That is why any park north of Alton towers doesn't fair well..... because the market is limited due to accessibility - and this impacts development. To succeed enough to grow you need to be accessible from at least one large metropolis and several areas.

In Europe - especially central, many parks are accessible from several other countries (Germany).

We also don't have stay-cation culture as strongly as other countries (although maybe that will change now) that we used to (thats why so many seaside amusement parks, and holiday parks like Bultins shuttered in the early/mid 00's

Also I feel we have a lot more red tape here, i.e. H&S more so than some of our European neighbours - which i think also puts strain on new or small tourist businesses, for example in European parks you'll have open ponds and water features as thelandscaping.....whilst here, all that would need to have fencing around it...... all added costs, more boxes to tick etc.
 

Screaming Coasters

Well-Known Member
A lot of the blame can be put onto Merlin damaging the price point of theme parks in the UK with their special offers and bogofs. Nobody in the UK expects to pay the full price for a day out anymore, and yet full price is perfectly normal in most other countries. This strategy only has a short window of success, which is why we see a new shock pricing structure within Merlins own annual pass offerings. I think Covid has been the perfect excuse for them to start sweeping up the absolute ****-fest they unleashed on the UK market and hopefully the smaller parks can breathe a little on the path to recovery, post pandemic.
 
Another factor is a lot of European parks are family owned and/or higher Managers are Goons (Liseberg/Tripdrill).

I think this makes a difference as there's actually love going into the running of them - instead of just running it as any old business

so family business don't get so spooked about profit or lack thereof - there's more a sense of' as long as we get enough money to plough back onto the park and give ourselves and staff a wage...thats fine'..... instead of we need moooooorrrrrreeee money!!

And because of this these parks seem to have better relationships with local governments etc - who in turn will give them breaks, say yes more to them etc.
 

toofpikk

Member
Another factor is a lot of European parks are family owned and/or higher Managers are Goons (Liseberg/Tripdrill).

I think this makes a difference as there's actually love going into the running of them - instead of just running it as any old business

so family business don't get so spooked about profit or lack thereof - there's more a sense of' as long as we get enough money to plough back onto the park and give ourselves and staff a wage...thats fine'..... instead of we need moooooorrrrrreeee money!!

And because of this these parks seem to have better relationships with local governments etc - who in turn will give them breaks, say yes more to them etc.

I disagree with this point.
Blackpool & Paultons are both still family owned.
Nick Varney is (or at least was, before he became an android money making machine) a massive nerd too.

Culturally I think there is a large difference. As has been said, in the UK we have slowly come to adopt the attitude of needing to get value for money for things and become quite cheapskate, both as consumers and operators. This reflects in awful wages for seasonal workers and a lack of motivation to make things for the sake of making them - everything bought needs to be able to make a return. Who on earth wants to break their back every day working a 9 hour shift being yelled at by Karen's whilst making minimum wage, and who would return to a theme park, a place for escapism, when all the workers are grumpy teenagers who've been worked too hard between nights out and college.

Truth be told there is a whole plethora of reasons that smaller parks are struggling at the moment, and historically too.
 
I disagree with this point.
Blackpool & Paultons are both still family owned.
Nick Varney is (or at least was, before he became an android money making machine) a massive nerd too.

Although those are the parks doing well! But I do agree, its only a small added reason I think the uk suffers from
 

Freakedoutjelly

New Member
With reference to some of your US park examples, i do think both weather and the fact they have decent, ticket included water parks helps keep them popular. I did a big East Coast road trip in summer 2018 and the popularity of the water parks at both HW and KK was obvious, and even up further NE e.g. Lake Compounce, Dorney, Canobie Lake etc. I was driving about for 24 days and, apart from 2 rainy days (Knoebels and Dollywood, boo), it was pretty much burning hot from the Carolinas right up to New England - we just don't get that guaranteed weather in England unfortunately hence water parks are normally added on at hotels a la Towers, or hardly worth bothering with - Thorpe 😅
 

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
There are lots of factors to this and a lot get talked about regularly.

The Merlin monopoly is probably the biggest factor, not an issue were it not for Merlins 'low bar' approach. We're above the rest in the country, we dont have to be particularly good we just have to be marginally better than the competition, springs to mind. Are there any other countries where there is a comparable monopoly? I'm not sure there is. People talk about tourism in the UK reaching saturation point but I disagree. I genuinely believe the market is there for the taking, a big player like the london resort or some sort of new park investment would really shake up the monopoly.

One that doesn't get mentioned too much is UK Parks lacking organic growth and balance. Thorpe ploughing octopus gardens and other kiddy rides and completely alienating the family market only to desperately try claw them back a few years later. Blackpool failing to make Icon the top thrill record breaker they really needed. Alton neglecting their flat ride line up completely and ending up with either roller coasters or kiddie rides. Drayton resting on their 90's success without enough investment and getting bowled over by the Merlin machine. Take a look at established European parks and aside from maybe Walibi Holland they are all extremely good at nailing the balance between thrill, family and kiddy rides. They have something for everyone and their ride line ups reflect this. Paultons is really making moves to become this 'balanced park', they're nailing the family and kiddie line ups and will push into the thrill market cautiously and slowly (just look at cyclonator).
 
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I wonder how much is a difference in planning permission laws and procedures. If creating something new is such a headache (the legal stuff, then even transporting all that steel/wood to an island with fairly poor infrastructure) I imagine lots of the parks try to do it as rarely as they can get away with. I'm never sure how parks can justify spending millions on new rides year after year, like it's great for us, but will Energylandia make millions more for every new ride they put in?
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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Another thing I'm wondering is, what was different in the 1990s until 2006 or so? Around the turn of the millennium you had middle-of-nowhere parks like Lightwater Valley splashing out for the world's longest coaster, Alton Towers pushed the state of the art for coaster design multiple times, BPB suddenly had the funds to build the biggest coaster in the world, Fantasy Island built one of the world's biggest Inverts three years after building a 45-meter multilooper, and Thorpe built four huge coasters plus a bucket of flats within ten years. Even small places like Pleasureland Southport could afford a brand new SLC, and Drayton Manor built prototypes for a whole new type of coaster. I mean, it's no wonder why CF was founded in the UK during this period; it seemed like local parks built relatively huge coasters all the time back then.

Fast forward a decade and a half, and we're at the point where Icon ties the record for the tallest and fastest coaster in the country in the past nine years (with Swarm being the record holder in both categories for coasters built after 2006). Three parks are left to build custom coasters of any notable size, and even they barely do so (list of new custom-design thrill coasters at UK parks since 2015: Wicker Man, Icon, end list). This thing is the fourth tallest coaster to open in the UK in the latter half of the past decade, after Icon and two family coasters at Paulton's. Here is the third fastest, after Icon and Wicker Man. The aforementioned SLC afforded by Pleasureland Southport in 1999 was relocated in 2007, and since then only two taller coasters have been built in the UK (Swarm and a Boomerang relocated to Pleasurewood Hills).

Either the UK theme park scene punched way above its weight for about 15 years since 1990 or so, or it has been punching way below it ever since 2007. I see this coincided with the financial crisis. Perhaps UK parks never really recovered from that? But in terms of costs and profitability, are coasters really that different than they were 20 years ago? Back then, it seemed like every showman with a parking lot in the UK had the world's biggest coaster manufacturers on speed dial. Nowadays, fifth-hand Pinfari coasters are shuffled between the mid-tier parks while the large parks dress up family coasters to look like shadows of what was built at regular intervals back in the days.

Oh, and I've seen the explanation "It's so cheap to go visit parks in Spain nowadays", but I'm not sure if that explains anything. Spain's coaster scene compared to 20 years ago is somehow even worse off than is the case in the UK. Exhaustive list of new custom-design thrill coasters in Spanish parks since 2015: Red Force, end list. Third tallest and fastest coaster to open in Spain in the latter half of the past decade: Probably this one, but it's not clear because RCDB has only recorded the speed of Red Force and Junior Red Force. Forget the issue of custom coasters vs. clones, for recent coasters in Spain the divide goes between traveling and non-traveling coasters (as determined by whether the coaster has concrete footers). Red Force remains the newest one in the latter category, and before then? Shambhala. If the UK's theme park industry is a shadow of its former self, the one in Spain isn't even a ghost. I really wonder what happened there? Or alternately, what was going on until 2007?
 

Professor

Previously AndrewRollercoaster
Lots of factors at play as have been mentioned I'm sure. A few of my own thoughts.
There is definitely, I think, a knock on effect of what big parks (Merlin and Blackpool Pleasure Beach) have been doing over the last 10-15 years so I will talk about the entire UK theme park industry mostly, not just small parks:


Difficult / costly to build on hilly landscapes.
The likes of Energylandia and Toverland seem to have very flat landscapes which must have made roller coaster construction far cheaper and easier than say at Alton Towers. I've heard it was one of the reasons why a Disneyland in the UK was not as interesting to build as a Disneyland in France.

Red tape
Many areas suffer from height and building restrictions in the UK.
It is often the attitude in the UK of keeping an old village looking exactly like it used to 100 or so years ago, even though they are now cluttered with cars on every street. Practically it is somewhat dumb in some places surely as it means no improved infrastructure often, nor do I think people in Alton would have experienced any difference to their lives if Wicker Man had been another 20-30ft taller. When big projects ARE needed such as the third runway at Heathrow we do make large sacrifices it seems but usually they come after much debate.

Health and safety concerns.
We seem more health and safety conscious in the UK to a certain extent and there is big media outcry when things go wrong. Massive panic over things to the extent that click bait is the talk of town often. People genuinely think that roller coasters are dangerous, just look at the over the top comments when things happen "the place needs shutting down" etc.
One thing I constantly observe when travelling back to The Netherlands to visit family and friends is how dangerous many staircases are in new builds in Holland. Floating stairs, no hand railings, many spiral stair cases, usually no carpets etc. I've never seen such things as often in the UK (only on photos of designer mansions, never in mass produced estates), nor do I know of anyone who has fallen down a flight of stairs at their home in the UK (I know several friends and family in The Netherlands where that has happened unfortunately). Whether this has an effect on actual death rates or hospitalisation figures I don't know but this is just a personal observation. Therefore I think in the UK certainly some aspects of daily life are made more with the attitude of "is it safe?" rather than "does it look nice?".
The likes of the Smiler, Drayton Manor and Lightwater Valley incidents have had a massive impact on the UK theme park industry I reckon. I doubt we will see record breaking coasters in the UK ever again as a result.

Lack of motivation & ambition
This is mostly speculation.
We seem to lack the mass interest in coaster building that people such as Geoffrey Thompson and Robert Stavely brought to the UK scene 25-40 years ago and that also inspired competition I'm sure.
The closest I've seen is the guy who owns Energylandia who had his family ride Zadra as soon as testing was complete, at night and just having that attitude of "let's build another one, and another one and another one..."
I'm sure Amanda Thompson likes / loves Icon but I think when one's attention is spread across different interests (skating shows, hotels, colours & design) that must mean pushing for a possible 300ft coaster just takes a backseat. Sure Phantasialand's manager must have a similar amount of challenges on his or her plate but they seem to use new rides far more effective to sell the entire park, for example an extra hour access to Klugheim for hotel guests. Or integrated theming with Fly and the Charles Lindburgh hotel. Instead I get the impression that the hotels at Blackpool Pleasure Beach are more standalone and even making entry between the park and hotels a bit of a long walk at times, it could be sold more as a resort for sure. I think Icon would have been better if BPB had gone with Intamin and just said "as fast and as thrilling as Taron please". Whether they could have delivered for the same price I of course don't know. Mack does have great trains but I find the coaster quite meh at times. Wicker Man also lacks the Troy speed & height that I think it probably needed to make it world class and perhaps grab more international appeal. Instead it only has world class theming I reckon but that is not so obviously communicated without being there.
The London Resort however sounds superb. I hope it happens and I hope it has as many coasters as we have seen in the plans.

Poor infrastructure links & parking concerns
Of course most people even in European parks arrive at theme parks by car but consider for example how impossible it is to get to Alton Towers without a car. That doesn't help, nor does the manic little village and almost drop to your death from the side of this hill roads when leaving Towers southbound. Not sure what the agreements are with local councils and theme parks in Europe but I suspect here in the UK not much is taken on board to improve these situations and it is more of an attitude of "we will see". That doesn't help growth if that is the case. Leaving Thorpe Park on a busy day takes far longer than I have experienced than at the likes of Walibi Holland (though I have heard with big events the latter can be horrendous too).
£18 parking at Blackpool Pleasure Beach doesn't help. I really think that just looks / sounds outrageous. I know space is limited but what is the point for the park and Blackpool in general having streets of closed down B&Bs around that look grotty and could just be used for parking. I see many people suggest when it comes to "where do I park?" questions on BPB on social media just say "just park for free in one of the many side streets mate, what you worried about?". Families don't want that, they want their car to be safe and secure and nearby and not have to pay almost as much as an entry ticket for that facility. £10 would be a perfect charge currently for BPB's car parks, whether they are getting full or not.

Poor food offerings for families in UK theme parks.
Get rid of Burger King at BPB and Thorpe Park. Just a disgrace they are even there. I have never seen something like that in European Parks I've visited. People are far more health conscious and it seems such offerings just target too much of a specific demography and not the one that just wants to move on from that in this day and could probably spend big in your park. The food at BPB really is soulless, colourless and bland. Lightwater Valley probably even worse when I visited if that was at all possible. Alton Towers throwing a pre-prepared hot dog already in a wrapper at me for whatever it was £6 or £8 seems poor too to be honest. How about a hot dog with added cheese, fresh onions or other more exotic toppings, just to make it more interesting regardless of the health concerns.
The Eigenhymer (spiral potato) stalls at Efteling always draw huge crowds from what I've seen. Toverland sells soups and good looking sandwiches. Easy stuff to prepare, that looks and tastes good and doesn't need a deep fat fryer. We need more interesting things. Not cheap nasty old fashioned USA fast food stuff in their most blandest forms sold for premium prices. Coasters at BPB was disappointing. The nearby food stalls on the Watson Road bridge even worse. Cold fish and chips. Everything has the colour yellow/light orange that you get from that area it seems, not a fresh green or red vegetable in sight. The best food I ate was at the Big Blue Hotel. Absolutely no complaints. Even room service is superb there. I don't mind the charge. It's holiday time and 3-4 hours drive. Burger King I can get down the road.

Merlin
The Merlin monopoly hasn't helped at all. I even see people defend it "if any park needs a new ride, it's Chessington" etc. As if other parks should stand frozen in time if a specific Merlin park gets something one year. Makes no sense to me. Black Mirror Maze, Gangsta Granny and Croc Drop just sound extremely lame. I know I am not the target audience but still I've never seen such boring new rides being classed as "major" investments at similar successful European parks with how Merlin describes these. Merlin are making Gangsta Granny sound like it was as complicated as F.L.Y. to build and install. Give me a break.
So we have an industry now in the UK where the biggest player makes do with very little, that is not very inspiring or going to be a demanding incentive for even smaller parks.

Poor use of social media
I follow the likes of Phantasialand, Energylandia, Walibi Holland, Efteling, DLP and others and of course the UK parks on Facebook. The UK parks seem very business focused on Facebook and there seems an element of fun / exploration missing (even little things like Adventure land constantly talking about some of their staff doing this or achieving that etc, it's great, absolutely, but not sure that is wise to constantly post). Energylandia is clearly somewhat inexperienced / new to the game with how things are brought on social media but you can see they have massive enthusiasm and just go for fun when they can or seize opportunities with holiday days. Walibi Holland are just mental with their water melon and basket ball dropping from coaster stuff. I love that crazy thing. Efteling and Toverland are all about exploration / magic and adventure. Towers probably has the best theme park marketing department running social media in the UK. Blackpool Pleasure Beach have improved over the last 2 years from what I have seen. They seemed very poor marketing their park on Facebook before I thought, almost embarrassing at times with the obvious mistakes or missteps they were taking, starting posts that would get zero engagement and it would be obvious that it was a bad idea to begin with.

Higher interest rates & availability of loans 2008 onwards.
The banking sector in the UK has always been big business, more so on average than in other parts in Europe from what I can gather and also from personal experience (I worked in a bank in The Netherlands).
I think the "austerity" stuff we heard for years from 2010 onwards in the UK didn't help much either. People didn't want to spend and thus parks couldn't spend. Many parks in the UK seem to have literally frozen in time since the 2008 economic crisis with only very modest investments since then.
Interest rates in the UK ARE low at the moment for sure, there is no question, but they do seem to be just a tad bit lower in many European countries (not all) that have seen more theme park investment recently such as The Netherlands and Denmark. Saying all that, Toverland has a massive debt on its books. Sometimes spend, spend looks great for a while but the chickens may well come home to roost eventually.

Future effects of Covid-19
People have been locked up for a good part of / almost an entire year. In that time many will be even more satisfied with in home entertainment they probably had to acquire. Others I'm sure (including all of us here) can't wait to get out and explore to such an extent it will be more intense than before as we all realise what we have missed so much. It will be interesting to see if these two approaches balance each other out or that the extra in home entertainment that has been possible over the last several decades means a further decline of the UK theme park market. I fear the latter might be the case.
 
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I'm wondering if as the time of coal power plants finally comes to an end in the UK (we had a few months of burning zero coal over the last year) there's suddenly going to be a lot of land available that's in industrial areas so unsuitable for housing, but has great transport links, loads of flat land, and no planning restrictions on height/noise.

Basically a RCT sandbox.
 

Thekingin64

Well-Known Member
I'm wondering if as the time of coal power plants finally comes to an end in the UK (we had a few months of burning zero coal over the last year) there's suddenly going to be a lot of land available that's in industrial areas so unsuitable for housing, but has great transport links, loads of flat land, and no planning restrictions on height/noise.

Basically a RCT sandbox.

I've often thought the same regarding the dying British steel industry. Massive plots of ex-industrial land now looking for a new use. Surely anyone can agree a theme park would be more photogenic (and likely quieter) than a massive steel plant and/or power station?
 
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