UK attractions body hails £50m investment

Significant investment, a rise in staycations and continued growth in inbound tourism are boosting UK attractions, according to a leading leisure industry trade association.

Balppa, the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, said these factors heralded a busy start to the 2018 season, and estimated the total investment was more than £50 million.

Paul Kelly, Balppa chief executive, said: “Major investment across the industry means there’s lots of great new attractions on offer throughout the UK.

“Shared experiences with friends or family are also becoming ever more important in today’s busy world. A visit to a UK attraction not only creates the opportunity to spend time together, but represents great value for money compared to many other activities.”

Balppa said 2018 will see the launch of “ground-breaking” rides and new accommodation at some of the UK’s leading theme parks.

The Wicker Man (pictured), the first wooden rollercoaster in the country for more than 20 years, has opened at Staffordshire’s Alton Towers Resort, and visitors to Blackpool Pleasure Beach will be able to ride on the new £16 million Icon rollercoaster from spring.

Merlin Entertainments’ new concept, The Bear Grylls Adventure, will open at Birmingham’s NEC in 2018, with experiences inspired by the famous survivalist and adventurer.

Chessington World of Adventures welcomes four endangered Amur tigers to its enlarged enclosure Land of the Tiger, encompassing Europe’s first overhead trails, and Crealy Adventure Park & Resort in Devon is investing in new accommodation and entertainment.

Hampshire-based Paultons Park is launching two new rides in May at Peppa Pig World – the Queen’s Flying Coach Ride and Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club.

Balppa has more than 300 members and represents the interests of the UK’s commercial leisure parks, piers, zoos, visitor attractions and family entertainment and indoor play centres.