Terrorist attacks impact Alton Towers parent

The Smiler at Alton Towers

Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments has said the recent terrorist attacks on London and Manchester have impacted its business, with visitor numbers at its attractions falling.

The situation is a further blow to the business, which was hoping to recover its footing after the accident in the Staffordshire theme park two years ago.

In a trading update, Merlin said its Midway London Division had benefited from stronger overseas visitor numbers in the early part of the year.

“This continued in the immediate aftermath of the Westminster attack on March 22, although the incident did result in a softer domestic, day-trip market,” it said.

“However, the subsequent attacks in Manchester and London over the past month have resulted in a further deterioration in domestic demand and, given the typical lag between holiday bookings and visitation, we are also cautious on trends in foreign visitation over the coming months.”

Trading in its LEGOLAND Parks and Resort Theme Parks groups is said to be in line with expectations, although it said a number of its UK parks – it did not specify which ones – had been adversely affected by the attacks of recent weeks and the subsequent heightened security measures.

Nick Varney, CEO, Merlin Entertainments, said: “I am pleased that we are making good progress towards our 2020 New Business Development milestones. That said, the impact of recent terror attacks on our London attractions is unclear at this stage.

“What is clear however is that London has bounced back before, and will do again. I have every confidence in the longer term resilience and growth trajectory of the market. London is very much open for business, welcoming visitors from the UK and from around the world to this exciting and vibrant city.

“Merlin has a diverse portfolio of global brands with over 70% of 2016 profits from outside the UK and this proportion will only grow over time as we continue to invest internationally. I remain confident in the company’s underlying growth prospects.”

Merlin will report its latest interim results on August 4.