Written on the 23 January 2017 by Business News Australia

QUEENSLAND visitors to Village Roadshow (ASX: VRL) theme parks have declined 12 per cent in the wake of four deaths at Ardent Leisure's (ASX: AAD) Dreamworld.

While the company's Gold Coast theme parks, Wet'n'Wild and Warner Brothers Movie World, have maintained "solid" interstate and international visitor numbers in the wake of the tragedy at the neighbouring park, Queensland visitors that have turned away.

It didn't help that Movie World had a ride malfunction of its own on 11 January, when 20 passengers were trapped on the Arkham Asylum rollercoaster less than three months after the Dreamworld deaths.

Village Roadshow says the Queensland market represents around 60 per cent of visitors to the Wet'n'Wild and Warner Bros Movie World theme parks on the Gold Coast.

The impact on ticket sales revenue has been described as "minimal", but there are flow-on effects on food and beverage, retail and other in-park revenue.

The Queensland Government implemented forensic reviews of all theme park rides in the state and Village Roadshow underwent its own review following the tragedy at its competitor, but the Queensland public is yet to regain full trust.

To combat this, Village Roadshow has begun new guest experience initiatives and is launching a marketing and public relations campaign to arrest the visitor decline while also maintaining its focus on safety.

"VRTP maintains its unwavering commitment to guest safety, exciting attractions and wonderful guest experiences, however believes it will take time for the community to fully recover from the Dreamworld tragedy," the company says in its statement today.

The Sydney Wet'n'Wild theme park is experiencing a similar phenomenon to the Gold Coast Parks and Village Roadshow says it will take time for a more detailed report on the effect on the bottom line.

"The ongoing impact of the Dreamworld incident will become clearer over the coming weeks," says the statement.

Dreamworld reopened 10 December and in Ardent's latest trading update on 6 January the company says revenue was down 63 per cent on the previous year.

Village Roadshow will release its half-year results on 23 February. The company is trading down 8.09 per cent at $4.09 per share.

Business News Australia
Author: Business News Australia





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