Uncertain EU referendum hurts London tourism

Published on : Friday, May 20, 2016

London tourismMerlin Entertainments, which owns Legoland and Alton Towers, said Brexit fears have kept London tourism trade under pressure despite a weaker pound. The theme park giant – the second biggest in the world after Walt Disney – stated London remained “challenging”, with the EU referendum uncertain.

London tourism was hit last year as the weak euro made it more expensive for European visitors to visit London. Sterling has dropped in value since late last year amid Brexit concerns, but Merlin said it had not seen a hike from the pound’s weakness.

Merlin, which runs 110 attractions in 23 countries, said trading overall was in line with expectations, adding that new rides and features opened so far this season, as well as three new attractions, had been “well received”.

It is also rolling out accommodation alongside attractions, having recently opened the holiday village at Legoland in Germany and with launches planned at Gardaland in Italy, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle in the coming weeks.

Announcing its annual results in February the company said that Alton Towers had seen a ”significant” fall in visitor numbers after the accident on its Smiler ride on June 2, which resulted in the 500-acre theme park in Staffordshire being shut down for four days.

Sales at its theme park business tumbled by 12.4% to £285 million in the year to December 26. Overall profit growth suffered due to the accident, with pre-tax profits going up only 0.3% higher to £250 million over the year.


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