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Ardent and Village Roadshow look for early reopening of Gold Coast theme parks

Ardent and Village Roadshow look for early reopening of Gold Coast theme parks
June 5, 2020

With Queensland currently easing its Coronavirus restriction Gold Coast theme park operators, Village Roadshow Limited and Ardent Leisure, have joined together with aim of being able to reopen earlier than originally planned.

Currently, the Queensland Government’s recovery roadmap states that outdoor amusement parks, zoos and arcades can reopen as part of the state's stage three easing from 10th July, but with a maximum of 100 people.

In common with other large venues and facilities, the theme park operators say that this is not viable, and that they will need to be allowed to welcome thousands of visitors.

Last month Village Roadshow Theme Parks Chief Operating Officer, Bikash Randhawa told MyGC that “we need to have, at a minimum, 5000 people here before it makes any commercial sense or financial sense.”

To try to achieve this, Village Roadshow Limited - which owns Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild and Paradise Country - has teamed up with Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure.

In common with other sectors they are developing Industry COVIDSafe plans that would allow them to permit entry to more guests.

Confirming this, Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones advised this week “they’ve both submitted their COVIDSafe plans to the Queensland Health Department and the Chief Health Officer and they are currently being assessed.

“At this stage they are in stage three of the roadmap but I’ll be meeting with them to work with them to see how we can open them up in a safe way.

“My understanding is they want to do it quickly, but the roadmap clearly states that theme parks are part of stage three.”

Backing the potential reopening, Destination Gold Coast Chairman Paul Donovan stated “we need the theme parks open and as I understand we’ve had the COVID-safe prepared by the theme parks and by the Convention Centre and we’re just waiting for them to be approved.”

This week has seen the Queensland Government approve Industry COVIDSafe plans from both the aquatic facilities and fitness clubs sectors.

Meanwhile, Village Roadshow Limited has agreed to takeover negotiations with private equity firm BGH Capital. BGH’s takeover offer of up to $468.5 million includes various caveats if Village Roadshow Limited wants to receive the full offer price.

Image: Sea World's Storm Coaster.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

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4th June 2020 - Industry plan prompts Queensland Government to allow fitness clubs to operate with more than 20 exercisers

27th May 2020 - AALARA releases guide for the reopening of Australia’s attractions industry

22nd May 2020 - Financial impact of Coronavirus puts new rides at Gold Coast theme parks on hold

19th May 2020 - Queensland Government provides emergency funding for theme parks and wildlife attractions

15th May 2020 - Fair Work Commission rules against Village Roadshow Theme Parks worker who opposed being forced to take leave

12th May 2020 - Village Roadshow Chief Executive calls for JobKeeper extension as Queensland Government’s Coronavirus easing roadmap suggests reopening of theme parks, entertainment venues and stadiums in June

29th April 2020 - AALARA updates members on attractions sector challenges

6th April 2020 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks backs staff during lockdown

28th March 2020 - IAAPA reveals recommendations for closing and reopening theme parks impacted by COVID-19

25th March 2020 - AALARA releases COVID-19 Action Plan

24th March 2020 - Queensland Government says theme parks, indoor gyms, fitness centres and sports centres ‘must close’

24th March 2020 - Coronavirus Update: City of Melbourne ‘cleaning blitz’, Dreamworld food donations, Gumbuya World and MCA closures - 24th March 2019

23rd March 2020 - Gold Coast theme parks ‘temporarily close’ in reaction to Coronavirus crisis

16th March 2020 - Gold Coast theme parks to remain open as Coronavirus fears lead to international closures

24th February 2020 - AALARA highlights Australian theme parks’ ongoing safety commitments

24th January 2020 - Private equity group BGH Capital submits rival bid for Village Roadshow

30th December 2019 - Sea World polar bear Liya dies aged 19

23rd December 2019 - Attendances at Disney’s theme parks beats the world’s top sporting leagues

20th December 2019 - Private equity firm makes $750 million offer for Village Roadshow

1st November 2019 - Warner Bros. Movie World opens costume showcase to guests


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