Welcome to the blooloop briefing; a roundup of attractions news from the last seven days.
This week we saw results announcements from Merlin Entertainments and SeaWorld, more details of interactivity in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a new Wizarding World light show, theming and art in hotels, artainment and high fashion and yoga by moonlight in museums.
The week’s news in 2 minutes …
For a quick run through the week’s most eye catching stories see our briefing video:
In the news this week >2 minutes
Merlin Entertainments announced preliminary results for 2018 showing a record breaking 67 million visitors in 2018 and organic revenue grew by 5.2%.
SeaWorld’s recovery continues. The restructuring, marketing, new attractions and events (including free beer) have delivered 8.6% growth in attendance to 22.6 million guests. Revenue is also up 8.6% and the company turned in a net profit of $44.8m.
Fosun also provided some insights about their FOLIDAY brand strategy which has been a success at Atlantis Sanya. It seems that younger visitors with higher incomes favour customised experiences at resorts over traditional scenic spots.
Bringing overnight accommodation to theme parks is key to Merlin’s strategy to create short break resort destinations, with Gardaland Magic Hotel and Alton Towers’ Stargazing pods opening this year.
Meow Wolf’s first super cool hotel and interactive arts venue was announced. Opening in the Phoenix arts district, it will “redefine and reinvigorate the hospitality experience”. Will we see more merging of entertainment/art/museums/hotels in the future? The Mona in Tasmania also has a hotel under construction.
Art is getting digital, with digitisation of collections and now exhibitions without any physical pieces of art. Following the success of the Klimt exhibition at Atelier des Lumières, Culturespaces have announced two more venues for their digital art experiences.
Fashion and wellness in museums
Another key trend we are seeing are fashion designer inspired exhibitions, starting with Dior and Mary Quant. The latest is a Thierry Mugler retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Modern Art.
Meanwhile at the Natural History Museum, you can chill with yoga classes beneath the Moon. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, Museum of the Moon has a touring exhibition of their 7m diameter, NASA informed, hanging moon model. An interesting intersection of wellness, technology and visitor attractions.
VR Star Theme Park
YouTuber Nathie provides an interesting tour of the $1.5bn VR Star Theme Park in China. Admittedly the footage is taken midweek but it looks pretty empty and it’s hard to believe that it can be achieving any meaningful ROI for all the cutting edge tech.
The Red Sea Project – a hyper luxury resort in Saudi – has begun construction. Billed as sustainable tourism, the development combines extreme luxury with heritage, leisure and wellness.
Following Six Flags’ announcement last week that its Chinese projects would be delayed, their partners Riverside provided an update that the first theme park and waterpark – Six Flags Zhejiang – is due to open in June 2020.
AquaJax hope to open a new state-of-the-art First Coast Aquarium in Jacksonville.
Gumbuya World in Victoria, Australia plans a A$50m expansion of its waterpark, Oasis Springs.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando have announced an exciting new projection experience – ‘Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle’.
Universal also released the name of its Beijing theme park, a sensible if anticlimatic choice of Universal Beijing Resort.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
It seems like not a week goes by without news about Batuu. Behind-the-scenes tours for journalists have revealed new details of both attractions, innovative interactivity and themed F&B. We’re very much looking forward to using the Disney app to hack droids, building our own lightsabers and knocking back a Bloody Rancor.