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have seen people stay longer,” reports Holt. “Goal number one accomplished! Our food and beverage sales have increased significantly. Folks would come in for lunch then return for a snack later on in the day. We are also seeing our guests come just for the ropes and zips as they may have visited the cave on a prior visit. Many of our visitors have returned, bringing with them family and friends. We are now seeing some group business and have a facility that can handle corporate outings and team building events.“ “Ropes Courses Inc were pleasant to work with,” Holt confirms. “Any questions were answered in a timely manner. They offered training at their headquarters in Michigan. Both the ropes course and zip line are labour intensive. As a recommendation to other interested operators, I would say do not skimp on the labour. Well trained staff add to the assurance level. Having an employee there to get a child to take one more step is worth every cent paid since that employee has just created an unforgettable memory for both the child and parents. Are these memories not why we are in the hospitality business?”


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The future is prehistoric


“We’re pulling out all the stops to create the most amazing, life-like dinosaurs since their living forebears walked the planet 66 million years ago,” says Garner Holt, CEO of Garner Holt Productions, which is handling the concept design for Howe Caverns’ Dinosaur Canyon, and will also see the project through to installation.


The new addition will not open for a while, however: “There is much design work and engineering that needs to take place before ground is broken,” cautions Howe Caverns general manager Robert Holt. “We would like to put a date on this project, however we don’t want to make a promise for an opening until we have all the engineering work completed. In fact, it will take a very long time just to create the dinosaurs.” The waterpark hotel, if it materialises, will be the final phase of the projected construction. “We would like to have much more of the attraction completed,” says Holt, “before a waterpark hotel is placed on the property.”


OCTOBER 2011 33


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