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small team of very talented and very driven people. I may get quotes out there and people in the industry know who I am, but I have really outstanding colleagues around me, many of whom have been with the company for a long time and produce prodigious results. I’m probably doing too much travel though,” he concedes. “It’s one thing hopping on a plane around Europe, but when you’re going to North America, Asia and Australia and spending three nights a week on an aeroplane, you have to question if that’s sensible!” I ask if he misses the days when he was


marketing director at Alton Towers and only had to focus on one attraction where he knew the names of all the employees. “Anybody who began their time in this


industry working at a specific site, walking around the attraction, seeing the visitors come in and enjoying themselves, misses it


AM 4 2011 ©cybertrek 2011


RESORT THEME PARKS


n Gardaland Resort, Italy – with hotel and Sea Life centre n The Alton Towers Resort, UK – with two hotels and indoor waterpark n Thorpe Park theme park, UK n Chessington World of Adventures, UK – with hotel, zoo, theme park and Sea Life n Heide Park Resort, Germany – theme park with hotel and holiday village n Warwick Castle, UK – with Dungeon


if they move to head office,” he says. “What I get instead, however, is a chance to see numerous sites and teams doing their own thing in many places with different brands, and that’s pretty unbeatable too.” All in all, it’s little wonder that Varney has no doubts about the company’s future success. But he’s at pains to stress that he isn’t out to knock Disney off the number one slot. “People pick up on this and it’s


important to emphasise that it’s not what drives us and influences our strategic decision-making,” he explains. “We’re not buying sites and opening things willy nilly just to get the most visitor numbers. We’re doing it to a very coherent plan. But,” he adds with a smile, “my team and I love this business. And if you’re that passionate about something, why wouldn’t you want to be the best in the world at it?” l


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