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Ardent Leisure to reopen Dreamworld on 16th September

Ardent Leisure to reopen Dreamworld on 16th September
August 14, 2020

Having secured $70 million in financial assistance from the Queensland Government, Ardent Leisure has announced that it will commence a staged reopening of its Dreamworld and WhiteWater World attractions from 16th September in advance of the upcoming school holidays.

Closed since March due to Coronavirus concerns, Dreamworld and WhiteWater World are the last major attractions to reopen on the Gold Coast, with rival Village Roadshow welcoming back visitors to Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Wet'n'Wild Golad Coast as of last month.

Only able to welcome Queenslanders to its attractions, Dreamworld has also announced that it will be offering discounted annual passes to locals for a limited time.

Dreamworld Chief Operating Officer, Greg Yong advised “we have listened to our local community and we understand that everyone’s been doing it tough.

“That’s why we are holding a limited time only promotion to welcome our locals back to Dreamworld and WhiteWater World.”

While closed, both attractions have been refurbished with upgrades to Dreamworld’s SideWinder roller coaster and a “top to bottom refurbishment” of WhiteWater World’s popular Pipeline Plunge waterslide.

Yong explained “we have got an incredibly exciting roadmap ahead, with construction of our $32 million multi-launch coaster commencing in the near future, creating over 250 local construction jobs and when completed new jobs at Dreamworld.”

Yong is confident guests will not be deterred by the Court case against Ardent Leisure relating to the deaths of four guests at Dreamworld in October 2016.

Having pled guilty last month to three counts of Failure to Comply with Health and Safety Duty, Category 2, under the Queensland Health and Safety Act in relation to the fatalities, formal arraignment will take place on 28th September with the maximum penalty for each breach being $1.5 million - $4.5 million in total.

Yong told the ABC “the whole accident situation for us is obviously always in the news and we are mindful of that.

"From the chairman to our CEO and to really the executive team here, there's not one person here that had responsibility for attractions, for operations or for maintenance from when that happened.

"We are driven every day to make sure that can never ever happen again."

Yong said planning for a memorial garden for the four ride victims, Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Roozi Araghi, had been delayed by Coronavirus restrictions, but added “it is still in our plans but unfortunately we haven't progressed it any further as yet.”

Village Roadshow receives financial assistance from the Queensland Government
Village Roadshow has also secured $70 million in funding from the financial assistance package for Gold Coast theme parks announced by the Queensland Government which the company expects will be sufficient to fund its cash needs for the next 12 months.

The cash injection comprises a loan of $69.9 million and a grant of $3 million, free of interest, fees or repayment requirements.

In addition, Australian private equity firm BGH Capital is moving toward the completion of its deal to take over Village Roadshow for an enterprise value of up to $758 million.

Images: Dreamworld costume characters Kenny and Belinda (top) and the theme park's planned new rollercoaster (below).

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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7th August 2020 - $70 million Queensland Government lifeline drives Ardent Leisure’s Dreamworld reopening announcement

29th July 2020 - Ardent Leisure pleads guilty over 2016 Dreamworld ride deaths

28th July 2020 - Indigenous leaders worried about future of Dreamworld Corroboree precinct

10th July 2020 - Coronavirus impact sees Dreamworld make 50 positions redundant

26th June 2020 - Gold Coast theme parks impacted by failure to secure Federal Government loan deal

24th June 2020 - Shutdown impacts Dreamworld’s plans for construction of new rollercoaster

18th June 2020 - Ardent Leisure shareholders launch class action over Dreamworld deaths

17th June 2020 - Village Roadshow announces reopening schedule for Gold Coast theme parks

8th June 2020 - Queensland Government delivers financial support to safeguard attraction industry workers

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

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

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

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

25th February 2020 - Ardent Leisure shares fall after critical Coroner’s report into Dreamworld tragedy

25th February 2020 - Queensland Government announces acceptance of Coroner’s findings into 2016 Dreamworld ride deaths

24th February 2020 - Coroner’s report on Dreamworld fatalities exposes Ardent Leisure to prosecution for multiple safety breaches

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

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

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18th September 2016 - Quadrant Private Equity adds Jetts to fitness sector acquisitions in $100 million deal


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