Merlin Entertainments has warned that visitor numbers at its UK attractions could continue to fall following terrorist attacks in the country during the first half of the year.
Europe’s no.1 attraction operator has revealed that before the attacks in London and Manchester foreign tourists had been flocking to the country to take advantage of the weak British pound. The company’s main London “cluster” – comprising the London Eye, London Dungeon, Shrek’s Adventure! and Sea Life aquarium – sits immediately alongside Westminster Bridge, where an attacker drove a car into pedestrians in March.
“The subsequent attacks in Manchester and London over the past month have resulted in a further deterioration in domestic demand, reports a Merlin spokesperson. “Given the typical lag between holiday bookings and visitation, we are also cautious on trends in foreign visitation over the coming months”.
“The impact of recent terror attacks on our London attractions is unclear at this stage,” adds Merlin chief executive Nick Varney. “What is clear, however, is that London has bounced back before, and will do again.”
As well as its attractions centred around the London Eye, Merlin runs Madame Tussauds elsewhere in the city, as well as Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor just outside the capital. In Manchester it has a cluster comprising both a Sea Life and Legoland Discovery Centre outlet, with further attractions about an hour away in Blackpool and at Alton Towers Resort. The latter saw a drop in visitors after a severe accident on its Smiler rollercoaster in 2015, although attendance was believed to be steadily building back up.