Expo 2020 Dubai has announced it will possibly postpone until 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expo 2020 Dubai says it has been working closely with key UAE and international stakeholders to assess the impact of coronavirus. It says it is supportive of the Steering Committee’s proposal made on March 30, to explore the possibility of a one-year postponement.

Expo 2020 said is will follow the guidelines of World Expo, the governing body Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), on deciding whether to delay the Expo by one year.

BIE is working with Expo 2020 and member states to establishing a change in the date. The final decision can only be made by BIE’s General Assembly.

“We continue to face a global situation that is both fast moving and unpredictable,” said Expo 2020 in a statement, adding: “We remain firm in our collective aim to deliver an Expo that is true to its time and to our shared, urgent priorities. But it is clear that this is not the right time.”



Nathan Jones has joined end-to-end ride system developer, CAVU Designwerks, as the company’s new chief operating officer (COO). Jones brings more than 22 years of leadership experience in the entertainment and attractions industry to CAVU Designwerks.

In his long-established career in the industry, Jones has been focused on achieving operational efficiency, including in his most recent position as president of park attractions at WhiteWater.

Jones has held senior roles at other leading companies in the entertainment and attractions industry, including Vekoma Rides Manufacturing B.V. and Brogent Technologies.

Peter Schnabel, CEO of CAVU Designwerks, commented on the appointment: “We are excited to have Nathan as part of the CAVU team. He compliments our strong performance-oriented culture, and we believe his impressive reputation for execution and achieving results makes him the right choice for ensuring operational excellence across the company as we evolve into our next stage of company growth.”

On accepting the position, Nathan Jones said: “There are few companies in the industry that have delivered the calibre of attractions that CAVU has over the past 5-years.The talented employee base and proven ability to execute on such complex projects provides a solid foundation for our forward trajectory and I am thrilled to join and contribute to the growth of such an exciting team.”



D-Box Technologies, a global leader in creating immersive experiences to entertain, is teaming up with Red Raion, specialists in producing CGI content for media-based attractions, to provide new immersive experiences.

Sebastian Mailhot, president and CEO of D-Box, commented on the collaboration: “We are really excited to sign this first agreement with Red Raion, the new partnership will certainly contribute in developing amazing CGI content that will resonate deeply in the consumer market.

“Our motion technology is synchronising perfectly and seamlessly with the CGI content enhancing the overall experience like never before.”

Valeria Rizzo, PR and business development director at Red Raion, said: “We at Red Raion are glad to contribute in the success of D-Box’s clients. Our goal is to guide them in selecting the right CGI content for their media-based attraction depending on their venue and their needs.”

“For us, the perfect sync of the content with the motion is the key element that makes an immersive experience stand out from the rest! So, we are definitely excited about this new partnership,” Rizzo continued.



Frank Stanek, executive advisor with The Producers Group (TPG) and TEA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, is urging the attractions industry to “keep moving forward.”

In a recently released white paper, Stanek encouraged entertainment and attraction developers to continue planning and design projects in anticipation of an eventual recovery.

In an open letter to clients and partners of TPD, including the likes of Universal and Disney, Stanek noted: “Now is not the time to regress or ‘pull back’ from moving forward with projects that are tourism, entertainment or visitor-related. In fact, this is an ideal time to continue the development of well thought out projects, having attractive, market appealing concepts, sound business plans, and execution strategy.”

Stanek went on to remind that following a significant disruption or downturn, that higher growth within 6 to 24 months historically occurs.

Citing the “certain positive advantages to keep ‘moving forward’”, Stanek forecasts: “The current health and financial uncertainty will run through its cycle and in most cases, it will be of short duration but certainly, the situation will improve, financial markets will return to positive growth, health issues will be managed and solutions found and tourism and attraction visitation will return to normal dynamics.”

As we wait during these difficult times, the award-winning TPG executive advisor recommends that: “In these uncertain times those who move forward with their projects will gain the initiative over those who wait and be positioned to capture more than their market share when the cycle of uncertainty ends and tourism and visitor growth returns.”



Designed to help people get through social distancing, Disneyland Paris is sharing free downloads of a digital book.

The book is titled ‘Disneyland Paris Celebrates its Heritage and its Artistic Crafts’ and was distributed during the French Heritage Days event in 2019.

The e-book features references and tributes to the different parts of French culture that can be found at Disneyland Paris, including architecture, art, literature, music and food.

The Disneyland Paris Celebrate its Heritage and its Artistic Crafts e-book can be downloaded here.

Disneyland Paris’ free digital book download offering is the latest move by theme park operators and attraction sites to offer free remote entertainment and information to people during the difficult and challenging practice of quarantine and self-isolation.



Work on Gulliver’s Valley theme park in Rotherham, Yorkshire, has been put on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

The 250-acre theme park was due to open in late spring. Bookings had started to be taken for entrance to the site in June.

In an announcement, the theme park’s owners said that work on the site had been suspended. While they acknowledged it could change, the owners also said they do not expect a delay to the planned opening date.

Julie Dalton, managing director of Gulliver’s Theme Parks and Resorts, commented: “To ensure the safety of our staff and to adhere to the Government guidance for people to stay at home, we decided to temporarily suspend construction work on our Gulliver’s Valley site on Monday, March 23.

“While we could never have predicted the current situation, we do have ample flexibility built into our schedule for unknown delays or disruption. Therefore, this existing downtime is currently not impacting on when we’ll be opening the doors. If this changes in the coming weeks then we will, of course, keep everyone updated.

“In the meantime, however, please be reassured that our back office team are still working extremely hard behind the scenes to deliver a fantastic theme park that will entertain families for many years to come creating even better experiences, birthday party products, sleepovers and some really exciting special events yet to be revealed!

“We cannot wait to continue the build. We’re ready to resume works as soon as it is safe for our teams to do so and we’ll be sure to keep the public updated with any new information as the situation unfolds,” Dalton continued.



Gatorland, the 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve in Florida, is brining animal education into homes, with its ‘School of Croc’ Facebook Live program.

The educational program is hosted by Savannah Boan, the park’s crocodilian enrichment coordinator and social media director.

The Facebook Live series is designed to teach children about the animals at Gatorland in a fun and engaging way whilst they are stuck at home unable to attend school of visit the Gatorland theme park.

With her co-presenter Brandon Fisher, director of media production at Gatorland, Savannah Boan and other experts from the animal park, will provide a close-up look at crocodiles, alligators, Macaws, Burmese pythons, and other creatures that live in the wildlife park.

Talking about the launch of ‘School of Croc’, Mark McHugh, president and CEO of Gatorland, commented: “It’s fantastic to see the excitement growing as kids, parents, and teachers anticipate new adventures every day on ‘School of Croc.’ We’ve even had teachers from several school districts advise us on how to modify our shows to support their curriculum.

“The kids are just amazing. They have sent us pictures of their chalk art alligators, alligator hand puppets, Play-doh snakes, stories with illustrations and pictures or videos of themselves watching ‘School of Croc.’ One mother posted a picture of her little boy eating eggs at the same time our monitor lizard was eating his eggs. Parents are excited too and tell us how Savannah is a great role model for little girls, and she’s inspiring kids all over the world.”

The School of Croc Facebook Live event is airing every day from Monday to Saturday at 10am Eastern Time on Gatorland’s Facebook page.



The dedicated streaming app Disney+ has been launched throughout Europe, in the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and Spain.

The streaming service features TV shows and films from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, the National Geographic and more, including over 500 films, 26 original series and movies, as well as thousands of TV episodes.

Due to its huge catalogue of older Disney films and large supply of family favourites, Disney+ is becoming a rival to Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

On launching in Europe, Kevin Mayer, chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, said: “Launching in seven markets simultaneously marks a new milestone for Disney+.

“We humbly hope that this service can bring some much-needed moments of respite for families during these difficult times,” Mayer added.

The launch of the streaming app in Europe comes at a time when many theme parks are temporarily closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Disney has considered whether its current broadband infrastructure is sufficient to handle demand for the Disney+ app, which features a lower bandwidth utilisation by at least 25 per cent.

The Disney+ streaming service launched in Canada, the US, Australia, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and New Zealand in November 2019.



Arts Council England has launched a £160m emergency package to help entertainment and leisure facilities that are suffering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vital funds’ package is designed to help theatres, galleries, museums, entertainment venues, artists and freelancers in the industry, at a time when attraction sites have had to close across the UK.

The support package includes £90 million for National Portfolio Organisations, £20 million for individuals and £50 million for other organisations to in the National Portfolio.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, commented: “COVID-19 is having an impact globally, far beyond the cultural sector – but our responsibility is to sustain our sector as best we can, so that artists and organisations can continue to nourish the imagination of people across the country, both during the crisis and in the period of recovery.”

“None of us can hope to weather this storm alone, but by working together in partnership, I believe we can emerge the stronger, with ideas shared, new ways of working, and new relationships forged at the local, national and even international level,” Serota added.



Two parcels of land have been sold in Qingdao, in the Shandong province of China. The land was bought by Qingdao Henglu Tourism Development Co., which intends to develop the Evergrande Water World project.

The land covers a total area of 82,600 sq. mt. and a total construction area of 148,700 sq. mt. The purchase price of the parcels of land was 370 million yuan.

Qingdao Henglu Tourism Development Co., Ltd is a subsidiary of Qingdao Evergrande Water World Tourism Development Co., Ltd, which belongs to Evergrande group.

The Qingdao Evergrande Water World project will cover an area of 3,500 acres, with a total investment of approximately 50 billion yuan.

The all-weather, all-season Water World site is being developed to be a world-class indoor entertainment complex.