Alton Towers has published details of how it is preparing for reopening its doors to visitors. The popular Staffordshire-based theme park has released the steps it will take to help ensure a safe environment for staff and guests when it reopens.

The steps include limiting the initial number of visitors entering the park daily, as well as restricting the numbers on individual attractions and facilities. An online booking system will be in place, where guests can book their visit in advance to guarantee entry to the park.

Temperature checks will be carried out on all employees and guests arriving at the park. Individuals with a high temperature will not be allowed to enter the site. Visitors and employees will be asked to monitor their own health and avoid visiting Alton Towers if they feel unwell or have a cough.

Jonathan Ellis, the Health and Safety director at Alton Towers Resort, commented on the health and safety restrictions being put in place: “Like many other businesses, we chose to support the Government efforts to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 by closing the Resort ahead of the lockdown.

“We have now been closed for more than 10 weeks except for a very small team who have continued to perform essential work and care for the animals we have on site.

“As the situation improves and Government advice changes, we hope to be able to confirm our reopening date soon, and there is much we are already doing to prepare for that day.

“For a few weeks now, the management team at Alton Towers has been reviewing our entire operation and planning the changes we need to make so that when we do reopen we can do so in a way that keeps our guests and our employees safe, and ensures that we can deliver a great day out,” Ellis continued.

An official reopening date for Alton Towers has yet to be confirmed.



The leisure and attractions industry across the Middle East and North African (MENA) region has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), an average of US$6.71 billion per month in business has been lost in the industry in the region. WTTC estimates put $80 billion of the $102 billion generated by people visiting MENA from overseas is in leisure tourism, including visits to theme parks and entertainment centres.

Of the region’s gross domestic product, 8.7% is made up by the travel and tourism industry. The WTTC states that theme parks and FECs contribute to MENA’s GPP above all other segments of tourism, with families spending more on entrance fees, food and drink, and hotels, compared to any other type of tourism.

Restrictions are starting to be lifted in the region, with shopping malls, the location of many FECs, beginning to reopen. Strict safety measures are however in place, including temperature checks on visitors at the entrance and the mandatory wearing of face masks.

Yuhanis Nawasreh, sales and development manager of Dubai-based distributor Warehouse of Games, spoke about the reopening of the industry: “We have started to move again. But there are many precautions, social distancing and capacity rules. FECs, cinemas and all other attraction and entertainment venues remain closed until further notice.”



John Sprouls, CEO of Universal Orlando Resort, has announced a number of ideas centred on the safe reopening of the theme park.

The suggestions were made during conference calls with the Reopen Florida Task Force group, which was created by Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis.

To make the site has safe as possible for visitors and employees when it reopens, Sprouls said they are considering using social distancing in queues and on rides, as well as limiting the number of guests entering the park.

Universal’s waterpark, Volcano Bay, already employs virtual line technology, which could be expanded to the theme park. Further touchless technology could be utilised at Universal Orlando to help limit physical contact.

Disinfectant and cleaning measures could be increased across the park, as well as staggered seating on rides.

There is also the possibility that temperature checks are made to guests prior to entering the theme park. Staff may also be asked to wear masks and screening measures.

An official date for the reopening of Universal Orlando has yet to be set.



Ocean Flower Island, the artificial archipelago off the north coast of Danzhou, Hainan, China, is to open as scheduled, despite setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 13, Zhang Weidang, chairman of Evergrande Fairland Operation Group and of Ocean Flower Island Company, announced that although construction of the site had been affected by the COVID-19 virus, Ocean Flower Island will open this year, as scheduled.

Ocean Flower Island will feature more than 200 internationally renowned brands, including 12 Michelin-starred restaurants. The entertainment site will be home to state-of-the-art marine museums, fantasy dramas customised by world-famous directors, five-star resort hotels, duty-free shopping malls, theme parks centred on a fairy tale theme, marine interactive themes park, snow mountain themed water park, and much more.

Ocean Flower Island is expected to welcome 10 million visitors each year.



Holovis, specialists in creating immersive and mixed reality to engage audiences, has developed a social distancing app. The Crowd Solo app is designed to help themed entertainment venues reopen safely following closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The app features a reservation and queue management system with real-time alerts. The purpose of the app is to ensure venues avoid crowd hotspots by providing operators with instant insights into the movement of guests.

Crowd Zero is powered by Holovis DeepSmarts data analytics engine, which visualises the movement of guests. With tracking capability, guests are made aware of social distance metrics from other visitors. Guests are alerted when they get too close to other visitors via audible and vibration feedback.

The app will be free to all single ticket destinations, including theme parks, museums, cultural centres and zoos.

Holovis is looking for feedback from the industry to support further development of the app. As Peter Cliff, creative director at Holovis, says: “We are committed to helping the industry that we love get back on its feet as quickly and as safely as possible. It looks likely that the need for some form of safe crowd management will be around for the foreseeable future meaning attractions and entertainment venues will have to adapt and learn to operate differently in order to give guests peace of mind and confidence to re-visit.

“We believe Crowd Solo could significantly assist with this process, whilst remaining socially responsible whilst creating safe places to visit. Based on informal conversations, our initial concepts have been positively received, so we are now ready to test market appetite more thoroughly. The basic app will be available in the next four to six weeks,” Cliff added.



Vantage Pivots, providers of innovative technology to the attractions industry, is to use its tracing software to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The tech was developed to trace guests visiting waterparks via smart wrist bands.

The tracking software enables waterparks to see how guests circulate and which attractions they spend the time the most on. The technology thereby provides a waterpark with a snapshot of the number of visitors at a site and where the most popular places within a waterpark are.

Philip Edgell, Vantage’s president, described the benefits of the technology. “The value stems from linking wrist bands to guest profiles. Each guest of the park is incentivised to create a profile that records any number of details a park wishes to know and that the guest is willing to share.

“The guest receives a more personalised experience and the operator, in turn, receives guest details, while allowing them to respond to customer behaviours in real-time,” Edgell added.

Knowing where visitors are and how long they stayed in specific areas, could prove beneficial to businesses other than attraction sites, during the era of social distancing. Having the ability to trace people, without using a mobile phone, and within a confined space and known who they have come into contact with, could be an accurate and effective way to help stop the spread of viruses.



IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, is urging for aid to be given to the sector to ensure businesses are ready for recovery and the 700,000 plus employees in the US in the industry are considered in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, which has led to theme parks and attraction sites across the world close indefinitely.

The association has submitted critical policy requests to Congress, seeking critical changes are made to the CARES Act.

IAAPA president and CEO Hal McEvoy, said in a press statement: “The CARES Act is an important step in the right direction to help America successfully emerge from this global crisis. Now, work must be done quickly to ensure critical changes and additional support are earmarked to ensure attractions industry needs are met.

“Parks and attractions remain closed and thousands of employees are either unemployed or indefinitely furloughed. With the start of the traditional summer season growing closer, these businesses need support now to ensure they can reopen when the time is right and continue to support the economies in the communities in which they are located,” McEvoy added.

The IAAPA is urging Congress to take steps to support the attractions industry through the likes of small business administration loans, emergency stabilisation funds and increasing funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.



Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen is to extend its summer season until October 4 as the park’s opening date is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The postponed opening date is now set for May 1, extended from the original date of April 16.

Lars Liebst, Tivoli Gardens’ CEO, commented on the changes to the park’s 2020 season: ““Like the rest of the world, we are day by day monitoring the Covid-19 crisis and the significance of the pandemic for the safety of our guests and employees. In this context we have now decided to postpone the opening until 1 May. On the other hand, we extend the summer season to 4 October.

“I can hardly bear it, because we have a trimmed amusement park ready to welcome thousands of guests here in April. We hope that Tivoli and others in the amusement industry are among the first to give back to the Danes some of the togetherness they have missed during the crisis. We are ready to open the doors at very short notice,” Liebst continued.



In an attempt to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Taiwan could restrict visitor numbers to its amusement parks and attraction sites to 50 per cent of their maximum capacity.

The Ministry of Transportation made the announcement in a drive to prevent dense crowds condensing into tourist sites in the Chinese state.

The announcement came after footage emerged of large crowds gathering at some of the island’s major attraction sites over the Tomb Sweeping Holiday in early April. Many people were ignoring the government’s calls to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Consequently, calls are being made for the island’s May 1 holiday to be cancelled and for the government to announce it could limit entrance to 25 of Taiwan’s most popular attraction sites to 50 per cent of their total capacity.

The same restrictions would be applied to 42 popular scenic spots on the island. Entry and exit points to be monitoring to mange the number of visitors coming in and out of amusement sites and other popular attractions.



Holiday World Theme Park & Splashin’ Safari Waterpark in Santa Claus, Indiana, have created digital resources designed to bring some fun into homes during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Holidog’s Digital FunTown page boasts a series of features, including printable worksheets, interactive videos, magic and cooking videos, Spotify playlists and a Holiday World podcast.

Leah Kock, the resort’s owner, said: “As soon as schools started closing, we started hearing from parents who just wanted to bring their kids for the summer already.

“Since opening day may be farther away than we’d hoped, we decided we needed to bring a little Holiday World into everyone’s homes.”

Families are encouraged to recreate the rides and attractions at the theme park, as well as inventing new ones and share their creations on social media with the hashtag #HomemadeHoWo. People over the age of 18 who submit video content with the hashtag could be eligible to win tickets to enter Holiday World this summer.

The resort remains closed until further notice due to the outbreak of coronavirus.