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Alton Towers reopens after Smiler accident

Alton Towers reopened six days aſter a horrific accident on the park’s Smiler leſt four people seriously injured. Te park reopened at 10am on 8 June,

having been closed after a carriage full of people on the Smiler collided with an empty one, injuring 16 and hospitalising four of these with serious leg injuries. The crash was the first accident in

operator Merlin Entertainments’ history. While the park reopened, Alton

Towers’ X-Sector area – which houses the Smiler, Enterprise and Oblivion rides – remained shut as part of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation. Details:

Visitor numbers rise in 2014: report

Te TEA/AECOM Teme Index and Museum Index 2014 has been released, showing post-recession growth has been main- tained in the theme park sector, while museum attendance has suffered a steep drop since 2013. Visitors to theme parks

globally grew 4 per cent in 2014, maintaining the same level of growth as in 2013. Disney parks continue

to dominate the top 10 most-visited theme parks, with Walt Disney World Florida’s Magic Kingdom topping the charts and Tokyo Disneyland, Japan, in second. From an individual operator perspective,

Te Wizarding World of Harry Potter boosted Universal’s figures

rebound,” said AECOM’s senior vice presi- dent of economics, John Robinett. “Asia will keep growing and raising the bar

Universal had exceptional results with most parks expanding attendance by double digits. Both Universal Studios Japan and Universal

Studios in Florida reported an increase in visitor numbers since 2013 by around 17 per cent — success no doubt due to the extremely popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions. All regions contributed to the theme park industry’s “post-recession

Distilleries are also attracting increased spend

Scotch whisky distilleries among top UK attractions

Scotch whisky distilleries are attracting more than 1.5 million people a year in the UK – an all-time high – according to a Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) survey. Te new research revealed that in 2014,

visitors to distilleries rose 6 per cent year- on-year, also marking a 15 per cent increase since 2010 and collectively making Scotch whisky distilleries among the most-vis- ited attractions in the UK. According to the findings – based on a sample of distill- ery visitor centres collected by the SWA – the majority of visitors were domestic, with high visitor numbers also coming in from Germany, the US and France. Spending saw a significant increase, with

visitors to distilleries paying out £50m on tours, shops and cafés – almost doubling from £27m in 2010. The SWA says the increase in spend is reflected by increased investment to enhance visitor centres, including tailored tasting sessions, blend- ing sessions and special bottling. Julie Hesketh-Laird, SWA deputy CEO

said distilleries are helping put Scotland on the map. Details:

6 Wookey Hole to blast open new caves

Work is underway to uncover a series of elusive areas at Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset, UK, which staff say have been seen by fewer people than have stepped on the surface of the moon. Discovered by


divers in the 1970s, the series of “spectacular” caves will be uncovered aſter demolitions experts blast a 70m (230ſt) tunnel through the solid- rock wall uncovering the cavern – known as Chamber 20. Te work forms part of a £4m expansion project. “Our customers are always asking us if

for quality and the Middle East is making a comeback,” he added. Meanwhile there was small attendance

growth at the world’s leading museums with a 1.6 per cent increase. In 2013, attendance at the top 20 museums globally grew 7 per cent. Visitors to waterparks globally grew around

3 per cent, compared with 7 per cent in 2013. Details:

Te cave – known as Chamber 20 – is currently only accessible to divers

there are any more caves they can see. Tere are, but you have to be a cave diver to get to them,” said Wookey Hole director, Daniel Medley, speaking to Leisure Opportunities. “We want to put the tunnel in to open up more of the cave system, to make it one of the largest accessible cave systems in Europe.” Somerset-based companies Matt Durbin Associates and Demrock are acting as

Read Leisure Opportunities online:

tunnelling crew and explosive engineers respectively, with specialist consulting engineers already having carried out a full geotechnical survey of rocks and plans ahead of submitting for planning approval. Work is expected to take a month to com-

plete. Wookey Hole is hoping to increase visitor numbers by around 20 per cent once the addition is open to the public. Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2015

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