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Creating the perfect balance

NONE Europa-Park has long been known to cater for families and thrill-seekers alike. As the resort celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, Michael Mack discusses the secret behind creating the perfect balance.

InterPark: How has trading been for Europa-Park over the last 12 months? How would you assess the general health of the German theme park and leisure market?

Michael Mack: Trading has been very good over the last 12 months. We have found that when the economy is bad, people tend to like to take shorter trips and domestic holidays. This seems to have been the trend for many theme parks across Europe.

InterPark: Europa-Park is strategically located near the French and Swiss borders. What percentage of visitors to your park is from outside Germany?

MM: Nearly 50 per cent of our guests are from Germany. About 25 per cent are French, 21 per cent Swiss and about five per cent from elsewhere around the world.

InterPark: The Mack family owns Both Europa-Park and Mack Rides. Does your manufacturing business use Europa-Park as a testbed for its products? If so, can you give any examples?

MM: Interestingly, Mack Rides preceded Europa-Park. The idea behind opening Europa-Park 40 years ago was to have a working showroom for the products that Mack Rides manufactured. However, in 1975 we had 250,000 visitors and soon saw that there was a market for running a full theme park.

In terms of prototypes, it is still important to have Europa-Park as a showroom for Mack Rides' products. Rides such as Blue Fire, Arthur: In the Minimoys Kingdom, Euro-Mir, Atlantica SuperSplash and Poseidon all made their world debut at the park.

InterPark: One of the attractions you mentioned, Arthur: In the Minimoys Kingdom, garnered a great deal of industry attention when it was launched last year. How is the attraction performing?

MM: Since its launch, Arthur has become one of the top-rated attractions in the park. It's a very family orientated ride and sits perfectly in our Enchanted Kingdom area. We are overwhelmed with its success.

InterPark: Do you have a favourite ride at the park?

MM: I love them all, but I guess it depends who I am travelling with through the park. I have two children now - one is nearly five and one is 18 months old. I love to go on all the water rides with my older son. When I'm with my younger son we tend to visit the fairy-tale attractions.

I would say you discover every ride through your kids. However, when I'm with my friends I enjoy the thrill rides! I think this is the strength of Europa-Park - you really can have fun with all the family.