Merlin Entertainments lost £426m in 2020

London Eye

Merlin Entertainments has reported a £426 million operating loss in 2020 following a two-thirds drop in visitors due to COVID-19.

In the company’s annual report and accounts covering last year, the privately-owned attractions operator saw attendances fall by 67% to 22 million guests.

Losses before tax were stated as being £648 million amidst worldwide restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Merlin operates Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor in the UK.

Following the lifting of restrictions over the summer, the company said it has seen “strong consumer demand” emerge, citing a “staycation benefit” as people look to holiday locally.

The 2020 report outlines how add-on attractions with a separate admission charge are an “increasing area of focus” for Merlin’s theme parks.

The Merlin Annual Pass was also identified as a strategic initiative, which indicates that the company will return to mass promotion of the passes after taking them off sale during COVID-19 restrictions in the UK.