Gold Coast theme park operators hope to reopen early

Ardent Leisure

Australia’s Gold Coast theme park operators, Village Roadshow Limited and Ardent Leisure, have joined forces in an attempt to reopen earlier than originally planned, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, the Queensland Government’s recovery roadmap states that outdoor amusement parks, zoos and arcades can reopen in stage three from July 10, but with a maximum of 100 people.

According to myGC, theme park operators say that this is not viable, and that they will need to be allowed to welcome thousands of visitors.

In response, Village Roadshow Limited (VRL), which owns Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild and Paradise Country, has teamed up with Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure.

Gold Coast theme parks can reopen from July

VRL and Ardent have developed new plans to hopefully allow them to permit entry to more visitors despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

“They’ve both submitted their COVID-safe plans to the Queensland Health Department and the Chief Health Officer and they are currently being assessed,” said Tourism Minister Kate Jones.

“At this stage they are in stage three of the roadmap but I’ll be meeting with them to work with them to see how we can open them up in a safe way.

“My understanding is they want to do it quickly, but the roadmap clearly states that theme parks are part of stage three.”

Theme parks want to welcome more visitors

Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan added: “Our our biggest market by a mile is the drive market, we need the theme parks open and as I understand we’ve had the COVID-safe prepared by the theme parks and by the Convention Centre and we’re just waiting for them to be approved.”

Meanwhile, VRL has agreed to takeover negotiations with private equity firm BGH Capital. BGH’s takeover offer of up to $468.5 million includes various caveats if VRL wants to receive the full offer price.