Goodbye Wicksteed Park

By | Category: Travel news

The announcement by Wicksteed Park, the oldest theme park in mainland UK, and the Torquay visitor attraction Living Coasts that will close due to coronavirus restrictions and the lack of revenue in the foreseeable feature has prompted the trade body for attractions to issue a dire warning.

Wookey Hole – it has distancing and protection in readiness for opening

Paul Kelly, British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA), chief executive said, “We fear that these are just the first of many casualties in the wider UK attractions and hospitality industry.”

With 400 members around our countries, BALPPA is well positioned to know the truth about how attractions are suffering.

Lest you say that BALPPA would say dire things to try and put pressure on the government to allow attractions to open as soon as possible and to reduce the two metre social distancing rule,  then the concern is more that attractions are feared to be one of the last things to open.

Those predominantly open-air venues like zoos are already open in England. In Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland they are still closed. Why cannot venues with both indoor and outdoor activities be allowed to open just the outdoor parts? Why can’t people walk on piers where a one-way system can operate up and back would be easy to operate? Why are petting farms not allowed in some places but not others.

Take Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire, World of Owls in Randalstown Forest, County Antrim or the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie for example. All have open spaces where social distancing could be easily operated. But the Northern Irish, Scottish or Welsh governments have given no opening date. Like many other companies suffering during the lockdown they still have costs to find including the feeding of the animals.

Many are relying on donations and fund raising activities.

Other attractions such as Wookey Hole in Somerset or York Dungeon present more difficult conditions but, nonetheless, members of BALPPA have prepared plans and are confident about being able to operate as safely as possible.

At present they are hoping – at least in En gland – to open on or just after July 4th.

With two attractions closing their doors this week, there are many whose owners must wondering if this is the day they should close as well.

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