When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson used a speech at a business conference to speak lyrically about a weekend trip to Peppa Pig World in November, it was called ‘rampant’ and ’embarrassing “.
However, it seems that he – as a father of two young children, we should add – is not the only one who loves breaking out of confinement and enjoying the family attractions of a trip to a theme park.
International tourist attractions operator Merlin Entertainment reports an encouraging post-pandemic recovery of 35.2 million visitors across its global operations in 2021, an increase of more than 13 million from last year. ‘last year.
Its revenue also doubled last year to £1.26bn ($1.65bn) and cut losses significantly, while remaining well below its reported 2019 pre-tax profit of 234m. of pounds sterling. Underlying earnings and operating figures were also much healthier than in 2020. Merlin is the world’s second largest tourist attractions operator, and most of the 24 countries in which it operates have now lifted Covid restrictions, which crippled the industry the previous year. last. However, the company’s chief executive, Nick Varney, told The Times that its sites in China remained closed and the company faced continued challenges and an uneven global recovery.
Merlin hosts attractions featuring Bear Grylls, Gangsta Granny and Mythica and owns brands such as Madame Tussauds, Sea Life and Legoland. Founded in 1999, it was bought for £6 billion in 2019 by Kirkbi, together with Blackstone and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
The Bear Grylls attraction, based at Merlin’s Birmingham site in the UK’s Midlands, was doing particularly well, according to Varney, with the company building on the adventurer’s international appeal and looking to develop the Grylls concept in other sites around the world.