Recession and poor weather have failed to damped the spirits of those running Fantasy Island on the Lincolnshire coast.
The amusement park, with its large market and entertainment bars, attracted more than three million visitors in 2011.
Sales and Marketing man Tom Scholefield spoke to us about the park’s present fortunes and future prospects.
“The season is going well and picking up as the summer holidays draw closer,” he said.
“The erratic weather hasn’t made it the best of starts for anyone in the leisure industry but people are still determined to come out and enjoy themselves.”
Although the park now advertise as closing at 9pm during the summer holidays, Tom said that the days of the park running into busy summer nights were not over.
“If the weather is good and people are still riding we’ll stay open. On Bank Holiday Monday in June the park was open until 10.30pm.”
We asked about goings on with the Volcanic Eruption shot tower, which has been out of action so far in 2012.
“It was an issue with parts. They have now been shipped and expect to be fitted soon,” he revealed.
Fantasy Island is a prominent user of Facebook and other social media to interact with and update their guests.
Tom said: “It is a great way of keeping your loyal customers informed of any new developments. It has completely revolutionised customer service. Facebook has proven to be the most efficient method to find out what our customers want.”
He also revealed that rollercoaster enthusiast groups from Germany, Holland and the USA still travel to ride the park’s giant Vekoma SLC The Odyssey.
“Fantasy Island does not have the advertising budget of Alton Towers or Thorpe Park so the roller coaster doesn’t have the national pull that coasters at these other theme parks do,” he said.
“It is enthusiasts who help spread the word about one of Europe’s best roller coasters.”
Indoor offerings and Asylum
In terms of new investment, he said that the park was keen to improve offerings indoors to counter the erratic British weather.
Plans for a children’s play area within the park’s trademark pyramid have been approved and construction is underway.
Also believed to be planned for indoors is the mysterious Asylum project, for which posters appeared towards the end of last season.
Originally scheduled to open this year, the rumoured dark ride concept suffered from issues with “time constraints and planning” and is now scheduled for next year, according to Tom.
He said: “The original plan would have made a fantastic ride, but we decided to add even more to it, creating a truly unique experience that would attract thrill seekers from all over the country.”
The park are keeping tight-lipped over revealing further details, but we are promised we will be told when further information is ready to be released.
As well as radio advertising campaigns and sponsorship schemes involving football clubs in the wider region, the park continues to promote itself in new ways.
Tom revealed: “Next week will see the launch of Bracing Radio, a new community radio station broadcasting from Fantasy Island, providing tourists with all the information they need to enjoy the East Coast’s many attractions.”
We would like to thank Tom for taking the time to speak to us.