How Brexit will affect UK leisure and theme parks

Ash Smart

There has been much talk about Brexit. Right now, it continues to be a front-page story for European newspapers because it is not yet clear how the exit will occur and how it will affect many economic sectors. At BBLTranslation we have followed many different industries through clients who have hired us as a linguistic partner. One of the areas that we are closely working with is the leisure, theme parks and amusement parks sector. Read on to find out some of the prospects for this sector in the United Kingdom as explained to us by the expert Ash Smart, our colleague at IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, of which BBLTranslation is also a member.

Interview with Ash Smart, member of the IAAPA Board of Directors and Deputy Managing and Finance Director of Harbour Park, UK

Could Brexit hold any economic advantages for the UK’s theme park industry?

  • Individual trade deals with the rest of the world could open-up tariff free imports from other quality manufacturers, goods and services companies thus giving greater variety of product and choice to delivery to guest.
  • Decrease in the value of Pound Sterling may increase more international visitors. Of these some would have already been to first visit locations (i.e. London) and are now looking to explore and discover the rest of the UK. This should benefit attractions in other areas of the UK.
  • Additionally, with the Pound devaluing – it is expected that a portion of the UK population will holiday within the UK itself rather than travel abroad.
  • De-regulation in innovation to encourage the development of new technologies (i.e. AI) and in turn reduce its costs for implementation in the attractions industry.

If a no-deal Brexit goes ahead, do you think this will entail greater challenges for the country’s theme park industry?

  • Labour market difficulties are a real concern. Not only for seasonal workers but for attracting skilled employees as their a few well known skills gaps within the UK, particularly in hospitality roles involving catering and maintenance. A change in government and social outlook in education for hospitality careers is needed to encourage more UK citizens to willingly choose this path. This will take some time.
  • Potential further drop in the value of Pound Sterling will have a detrimental effect making certain products, services and assets even more expensive.
  • Potential for disruption of supply, for instance key components when ordered could get delayed at port of entry, resulting in increased downtime of key equipment during peak times. 

In terms of communication, what advice would you give to parks in the United Kingdom that are looking to increase their uptake of European visitors?

  • All are welcome, regularly update and provide travel details and links to aid potential travellers.
  • Promote good value giving the feeling that there is no better time in history to visit the UK. 
  • Partnerships with travel companies to ensure packages increase easy of travel/visit for guests. 
  • EU citizens are well travelled, and a portion would have already visited landmarks and attractions in London. Those attractions outside of London in places of natural beauty can appeal to those visits who want something different, who want to explore the ‘real UK’ – and the places that many a song and poem have been written about.

What are the three main trends that would attract visitors from Europe in the coming years?

  • Quality food offering and variations alongside well planned dining experiences.
  • Cultural and natural visitor areas (e.g. countryside) – sense of exploration.
  • Bespoke and experience based overnight accommodation tailored to impress the guest.  

What will Brexit actually mean for UK theme parks?

While it is clear that most businesses in the United Kingdom would prefer that the leavers had not won and fear it will be to their detriment due to the obstacles hindering the movement of potential customers and goods, after 29th March these lamentations will be of little use. All that remains is to look for the silver lining, if indeed there is one.

At BBLTranslation we specialise in advising companies that are looking to internationalise. We can help you both with the translations that you need, and in the implementation of multilingual online marketing strategies, as well as in the adaptation of all communications to the uses and culture of the specific country of the audience you intend to attract. Shall we talk?