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Financial impact of Coronavirus puts new rides at Gold Coast theme parks on hold

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

The development of two major new rollercoasters that were due to open later this year at Sea World and Dreamworld on the Gold Coast appear to be in doubt as a result of the financial impact of Coronavirus.

With both parks closed since late March and having no realistic date for a resumption of full operations, reports suggest that with both Ardent Leisure and Village Roadshow Theme Parks freezing all non-essential capital expenditure neither new ride looks likely to go ahead on the originally scheduled timeline

Sea World’s new Leviathan ride was announced in May 2019 as part of The New Atlantis, a new major area at the Main Beach attraction.

The $50 million themed area has already faced setbacks with the area’s Vortex missing its December 2019 targeted opening. Currently under construction, an Easter opening had been suggested prior to the theme park’s closure.

Sea World owner Village Roadshow, impacted by the business halt across all aspects of its business - that includes theme parks, cinemas and film distribution - announced in March that it would freeze all non-essential uncommitted capital expenditure.

Writing on the Parkz website, Richard Wilson advised “though Village have not formally announced the rollercoaster is on hold, this halt on capital ostensibly rules out construction commencing in the near future on the Leviathan.

“Though deposits and other costs have likely been paid to the ride's manufacturer Martin & Vleminckx and other parties, considerable expense is still to come in the form of physical construction of the rollercoaster.

“Wooden coasters are assembled on-site from raw lumber; it is only unique components such as trains, lifts, brakes and control systems that are fabricated offshore in advance.”

Dreamworld’s, as yet-unnamed, new roller coaster, first announced in August 2019, had also been due to open in late 2020.

Dreamworld owners Ardent Leisure announced on 13th March, with its entire chain of Main Event entertainment centres closed in the USA, that they were deferring non-essential capital investment.

Subsequently, the Gold Coast Bulletin confirmed that the rollercoaster and other planned attractions are now on hold.

Commenting on this, Wilson explained “there's no indication that these projects won't go ahead down the track once the global impact and ongoing restrictions relating to coronavirus ease. Both are vital investment in the future of the Gold Coast theme parks however there is little sense in committing to vast capital expenditure at a time where it will have no measurable impact and both Village Roadshow and Ardent Leisure face financial challenges that will put both companies in uncertain territory for months and years to come.”

Images: Dreamworld's planned new rollercoaster (top) and Sea World's planned Leviathan wooden rollercoaster (below).

Related Articles

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

15th May 2020 - Industry considers economics of post-Coronavirus reopening with limited numbers

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

9th May 2020 - Queensland Tourism Industry Council welcomes recovery guidelines

26th April 2020 - Queensland and West Australian Governments announce easing of Coronavirus restrictions

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

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

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

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

25th February 2020 - Ardent Leisure faces possible prosecution over 2016 ride deaths

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

11th September 2019 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks reveal schedule for opening of new Sea World attractions

23rd August 2019 - Dreamworld announces ‘new era’ with multi-million dollar investment in new rides

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