Theme park operators suffer significant visitor downturn

By Alice Richard
Thursday, 11 May, 2017

The tragedy at Whitewater World in October 2016 is affecting not only Dreamworld’s visitor numbers, but also those of its competitor, Village Roadshow Limited (VRL). Visitor numbers for VRL’s Gold Coast parks were down 9.4% for the nine months to 31 March 2017, and the company was also negatively affected by poor weather from Cyclone Debbie in March and April.

VRL says it expects Wet'n'Wild in Sydney will also underperform in the first half of the 2017–18 financial year.

“VRL firmly believes that the Theme Parks division will return to normal levels over time following key marketing campaigns and the introduction of new attractions,” the company wrote in an ASX statement.

Ardent Leisure is also feeling the pinch, with visitation down 36.7% for March and April 2017. Ardent expects to see an EBITDA loss of $2–$4 million for the 2016–2017 financial year.

Ardent Leisure’s chief executive officer, Deborah Thomas, will transition to a new role of chief customer officer (group) and chief operating officer (Australasia), with Simon Kelly commencing as group chief executive officer and managing director on 1 July 2017.

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