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October 17 2014
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This Week's News

Zehnder's waterpark re-opens

After more than a year of construction, Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark opened its new $20m Atrium Waterpark to the public on October 31.

Located in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Splash Village is now the only entertainment centre in the state to offer two distinct family waterparks.

"Nine years ago we opened Splash Village with a 20,000sq.ft waterpark," said Al Zehnder, chairman and CEO of the waterpark operator.

"The Atrium Waterpark is our new 29,000sq.ft expansion that includes a retractable roof, an outdoor pool, two, six-storey thrill rides, family cabanas and more."

The Atrium Waterpark also features a 20-person hot tub; a six-storey family raft ride; a six storey super loop body slide; zero-entry activity pool with water geysers; water basketball and volleyball; action river; and various fun family aquatic activities.

The original waterpark area that opened in 2005 is highlighted by a lazy river, whirlpool hot tub, 400-gallon dumping bucket, water geysers and sprays, a four-story tube slide and the Elf Hollow Café.

"We also expanded our hotel accommodations with an additional 32 guestrooms, 22 of which offer panoramic views of the waterpark," Zehnder added.

Splash Village offers a total of 178 guestrooms including 74 deluxe suites. The expansion project also doubled the number of waterpark locker rooms and expanded the indoor arcade to offer 45 games.

Costa Cruises selects Cruden

Passengers on board Costa Cruises' new flagship, the Costa Diadema, will be able to enjoy a high end motorsport experience, thanks to a Cruden Hexathrill Full Formula Style race car simulator.

The 4,947-passenger ship, nicknamed 'Regina del Mediterraneo' (Queen of the Mediterranean), was christened at a ceremony in Genoa, Italy, on November 7.

The simulator is the same equipment used by professional race car drivers to improve their skills, and is part of the ship's plentiful entertainment provision.

"A simulator is a great idea for a cruise," said Frank Kalff, commercial director at Cruden.

"Drivers can only get better and better the more they practice; a seven-day cruise is therefore ideal for both novice and more experienced racers looking for an adrenalin rush and a great holiday challenge."

Leaving from Savona, Costa Diadema's seven-day cruises in the western Mediterranean Sea, call every week at Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Naples and La Spezia, allowing guests to visit cities such as Florence and Naples, Barcelona and Marseille, in a single cruise.

Merlin CEO takes BHA role

Nick Varney, chief executive officer of Merlin Entertainments, will take over the role of chairman of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) when incumbent Alan Parker CBE steps down on January 1, 2015.

In his new role, Varney will join the BHA board of directors, working with chief executive officer, Ufi Ibrahim, and the executive team in the important lead up to the country's general election and the new political environment that will follow.    

Already leading the Cut Tourism VAT Campaign, which strives for the UK to be more competitive in Europe with a lower tourism tax, Varney's immediate priority will be to make all political parties aware of the importance of the hospitality and tourism sector both in economic terms and as a key employer.
"The BHA is to be congratulated on the excellent work done to date to build relationships and raise the profile of the key issues which affect all our businesses," Varney said.

"Now with a general election imminent we have a very short window of time to build on this, and to make sure that the economic and social importance of the hospitality and tourism sector is understood by all political parties; and that our issues are on their agenda for the future."

UK park planning a Magical Christmas

Drayton Manor Theme Park in the UK is set to give its visitors a fun filled day of festive fun, as it counts down to the official opening of its popular Magical Christmas event on November 22.

Visitors will be transported to a winter wonderland when they enter the Staffordshire park. Thomas Land has received a Christmas makeover, with the attraction embellished in spectacular decorations, festive music, fairy lights and snow - thanks to a machine that will ensure a flurry at least three times a day.

Brand new for this year is an outdoor ice rink, a 30ft lightshow Christmas tree and a new, 15-minute 4D cinema show based on The Polar Express, a popular children's book that was adapted into an animated film in 2004.

A fireworks display will also take place at the end of each day.

Aquamagica chooses NB filter

Aquamagica Waterpark in Khopoli, India, has completed its integration of a new filter system from Neptune Benson (NB).

NB's award-winning Defender regenerative media filter removes particles down to one micron or less.

In 2013 Defender filters received certification by the Australian 'Smart Watermark Programme' in recognition of its water saving qualities.

Sally Corp attraction for Swedish park

Sally Corporation's all new haunted attraction, House of Nightmares, is set to open in 2015 at Gröna Lund, the world renowned amusement park in Stockholm, Sweden.  

This terrifying new attraction will bring visitors face-to-face with the evil Dr Morphio in his old dark house where horrific nightmares await.

Specially designed for Gröna Lund, this one-of-a-kind walk through attraction will feature animatronic characters and props, CGI video effects, live wire illumination, video projection, Pepper's Ghost illusions, ultraviolet illumination, and live performers.      
John Wood, CEO of Florida-based Sally Corporation, said: "The House of Nightmares has been an exciting and challenging project for both Sally and Gröna Lund.

"As with many of our projects, we first entered into an exploratory design development agreement to develop concepts that we thought would work well in the facility and in Stockholm."

As visitors approach the exterior of an old Victorian mansion, two large video screens, special effects, lighting and sound will help set the mood for the terrors that await inside.  Scenic elements will enhance the backstory of Dr Morphio and his experiments.  

As they enter, visitors are immediately immersed in the story Dr Morphio, an American scientist who specialised in the nature of human subconscious and the nature of dreams.

It was in the late 1940s, the formative years of television, when Dr Morphio hosted a program entitled 'DreamLand' during which he would interpret the dreams of guests on his show.

However, at the height of his fame, his TV career came to a sudden halt when it was revealed that his personal research had become highly unethical and thoroughly illegal.

The public was shocked to discover that he was conducting experiments on human subjects in which he attempted to forcibly extract their dreams from their minds and bring their nightmares to life.

"Together with Sally Corporation, Gröna Lund will create one of the worst horror experiences of its kind," said Peter Osbeck, ride manager at Gröna Lund.

"Through advanced technology and special effects, we will challenge all our visitors' minds. We are currently discussing what the age limit should be for the House of Nightmares, as this horror experience is not for everyone."

Splash Kingdom continues to expand

Splash Kingdom Family Waterparks has purchased Splash Amarillo waterpark in Texas, US, for an undisclosed sum.

The group operates two parks in Texas, in Canton and Hudson Oaks, and one in Shreveport, Louisiana. The company expects to open a park in Greenville, Texas, in 2015.

Splash Kingdom has plans for upgrades to the Amarillo water park before it re-opens for Memorial Day Weekend next year, a news release said.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to bring the Splash Kingdom experience to the people of Amarillo," president and CEO Johnny Blevins stated.

"The people of the tri-state area can expect to see additional expansion and lots of exciting amenities as our plans continue to develop."

The company intends to improve pools, restaurants and seating, the release said. Splash Kingdom completed an estimated $1m in renovations to its Shreveport park last year.

The Amarillo attraction originally opened as FireWater waterpark in June 2000. The park opened under the name Splash Amarillo, with different ownership, in 2004.

New hotel for Danish park

Danish theme park Fårup Sommerland has broken ground on a new, four-star hotel, which will stand completed for the 2016 season.

The new DKK45m ($7.7m) hotel will be positioned as an integrated part of the forest and park, giving guests at the hotel a view across the resort's lake and the roller coasters Orkanen (The Hurricane) and Falken (The Falcon) from their rooms.

"We have wanted a hotel in the park for years, and now it is finally a reality," said Fårup Sommerland's president and managing director, Søren Kragelund.

"The final decision was made at our board meeting on August 18 and we were in agreement to immediately begin realising the plans so our guests can have the possibility to enjoy the hotel as soon as possible."

According to Kragelund, the hotel will feature 51 forest-themed rooms and a family-friendly layout. "The hotel marks a new era for Fårup," he stated. "With the hotel we are expanding our service and offers significantly for our guests.

"We have a great demand from our guests for overnight accommodation in the park and we are very pleased to be able to meet their demand now."

Next year, Fårup Sommerland will have been part of Danish tourism for 40 years.

Gateway selected by Ski Dubai

Gateway Ticketing Systems has been selected by Ski Dubai as the venue's new ticketing point of sale provider.

An iconic attraction in the UAE, Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort in the Middle East owned by the Majid Al Futtaim Group.

In addition to a wintery mountain-themed setting and five ski runs, including the world's first indoor black run, Ski Dubai is home to 24 King and Gentoo penguins.

The site's million-plus annual visitors will enjoy an enhanced visitor experience with the implementation of Gateway's flagship point of sale solution, Galaxy.

Skiers will have the option to purchase tickets onsite at the venue or online ahead of time using the venue's eGalaxy Web Store.

In addition to front gate and consumer online sales, the venue will also employ Galaxy's Upsell module as well as group sales and an integrated business intelligence application.

The project, which is in tandem with Gateway Value Added Reseller, Prologic First, is scheduled to go live in early 2015.

Ocean Park houses Discovery Channel

US television network Discovery Channel has opened its first flagship retail store in Asia-Pacific.

The store is at Ocean Park in Hong Kong, a partnership between the TV network and the park business.

Besides selling merchandise and building the brand profile of Discovery Channel the concept store will entertain, educate, inspire and inform the public, the two companies said.

Located at the Aqua City area inside Ocean Park, the store features over 200 different products from across the Discovery brands, including Discovery Channel, Discovery Expedition, Animal Planet and Discovery Kids.

Products on sale include books, apparel, outdoor gear, scientific toys, animal figurines, plush toys, Shark Week products and Discovery's DVD programmes.