BALPPA records major increase in members during COVID-19 crisis

Paul Kelly, Chief Executive, BALPPA

BALPPA, the British Association of Leisure, Parks, Piers and Attractions, has seen a large spike in membership since the outbreak of coronavirus.

BALPPA has announced a significant increase in membership during the pandemic. The non-profit-making association represents UK attractions such as theme parks, zoos, piers, FECs and more. It has welcomed an extra 60 members in the past few months. This increase of more than 17% brings its total number of members to over 400.

Working together

“The value of working together across the leisure industry cannot be underestimated; particularly during times of crisis,” says Paul Kelly, BALPPA chief executive. “As an association, we are lobbying the government and working with other groups within UK hospitality to ensure the urgent needs and concerns of all our members are properly represented.

“We are also offering assistance with insurers, furloughing, guides to reopening, health and safety advice, PPE, grants and loans. Historically this has been a fragmented industry but COVID-19 and its devastating effects on leisure and tourism has shown how vital it is for us to join forces, support each other and ensure our voice is heard.”

Sharing expertise

BALPPA provides a forum for those in the UK attractions industry to connect and share insights and tips for best practice. It is currently running regular weekly webinars looking at subjects such as health and safety and preparing for post-COVID-19 trading, in addition to regular think tanks exploring topics related to the crisis.

Members can also use the Facebook forum to get advice, share ideas and discuss their questions.

“Our members include some of the world’s biggest leisure brands, like Merlin Entertainments,” says Kelly. “Their experiences of having already started re-opening businesses in Asia and other parts of Europe provides invaluable information for all our members to learn from and they are able to discuss every aspect of their organisations in an open and frank way.

“It’s no exaggeration to say the association has been a literal lifeline for some members; offering support and empathy from people in the same situation.  It’s impossible to over-estimate the value of sharing worries and concerns for your mental health and wellbeing and this crisis has demonstrated just how much our members are always there for each other.”

BALPPA recently collated data from members which shows high levels of support for zoos during the coronavirus lockdown.