New theme park rides to launch after lockdown

THE Gold Coast's largest theme park operator hopes to have a new ride ready to attract visitors back through the gates when they are allowed to reopen.

Village Roadshow was forced to close Sea World, Wet'N'Wild and Movie World last month because of the tight COVID-19 restrictions.

But while no date has been set for reopening, park bosses are holding high-level discussions about how to bring crowds back.

Village Roadshow Theme Parks' new $50m theme park precinct it will develop alongside Sea World on the Gold Coast.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks' new $50m theme park precinct it will develop alongside Sea World on the Gold Coast.

Village Roadshow theme parks chief operating officer Bikash Randhawa said he felt optimistic despite the uncertainty and said the parks would play a role in reviving the Gold Coast's economy.

"For us, it is not just about opening up again, it is about working with the Government to make sure we bounce back properly because we are not going to limp into an opening," he said.

The vortex, one of the new rides Photo: Village Roadshow Theme Parks.
The vortex, one of the new rides Photo: Village Roadshow Theme Parks.

"We have the Atlantis project sitting there which will be critical for us to make sure things go nuclear in a good way when we can reopen. This will not just be rides, it will be something that drives visitation.

"This will be the biggest and best tourism asset for the city and once we get clarity on what is happening, our intent will be to push through with it."

The Vortex. Picture: Village Roadshow
The Vortex. Picture: Village Roadshow

The $50 million Atlantis precinct was announced in May last year and will feature three major thrill rides - the Vortex a pendulum-like attraction similar to Dreamworld's former Wipeout, The Leviathan, a giant wooden roller coaster and The Trident - a large 52m tower which will spin its guests at speeds of nearly 40km/h.

Marine Mammal trainer Brooke Pelizzari with dolphins at sea World as the government unveiled $95 million for theme park support. Picture: Jerad Williams
Marine Mammal trainer Brooke Pelizzari with dolphins at sea World as the government unveiled $95 million for theme park support. Picture: Jerad Williams

The first of the rides had been expected to open as early as this month but work was halted once the coronavirus crisis escalated.

Mr Randhawa said the theme park market faced a tough road ahead but insisted it would be critical to the Coast's success.

"We have no revenue coming in and this presents us with a lot of challenges," he said.

"Without the theme parks, there will not be much tourism.

"But at this point we do feel optimistic about it and given everything we have planned and what we already have, we will be in quite a good position to have a significant impact on the economy."

The Gold Coast’s Federal MPs, Angie Bell, Stuart Robert and Karen Andrews announced the funding yesterday. Picture: Jerad Williams
The Gold Coast’s Federal MPs, Angie Bell, Stuart Robert and Karen Andrews announced the funding yesterday. Picture: Jerad Williams

It comes just a day after the Federal Government announced a $95 million funding boost for theme parks with animal attractions.

As revealed in yesterday's Bulletin, the cash will be used to help the parks, such as Sea World and Dreamworld to continue to operate during the crisis.

Grants through the scheme will contribute towards up to six months of animal welfare operating costs, and operators can also apply for the JobKeeper program to assist with staffing costs.

It came after lobbying from Moncrieff MP Angie Bell.

Originally published as New theme park rides to launch after lockdown



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