A proposal for the municipality of Emmen to become the sole financier of the Wildlands adventure park will be voted on later this month.
Translation by Traci White
RTV Drenthe reports that the proposal calls for the municipal council to take over 18.3 million in loans for the park from construction company VolkerWessels Stevin and RaboBank. If the municipal council approves of the proposal on 28 March, Emmen’s financial stake in park would be much as 80.5 million euros.
Wildlands required an investment of 200 million euros when it opened in 2016, and the park had 1.3 million visitors in its first year. But visitor numbers have steadily declined since then: there were roughly one million guests in 2017, and around 855,000 in 2018. The park ended 2018 with 8 million euros in losses, and Wildlands was granted a deferment of payment until May of this year.
Currently, the municipality of Emmen, RaboBank and VolerWessels Stevin are the biggest financiers of the park, along with Water Supply Drenthe (WMD). In January, WMD said they were reevaluating their relationship with Wildlands. The municipality presently holds around 50 million euros in financial risk connected to the park.
If the municipality becomes the majority financier, they will give the park a .5 percent discount on interest for the first five years, and the park will be charged less rent for its main entrance building. The connected Atlas Theatre would also receive a one-million-euro subsidy under the new arrangement.
The park shared a new business case in November, including ways to make the park more attractive to visitors. Ticket prices were lowered, more animals will be added to the park and a new visitor route will be developed to improve visibility of the habitats. RTV Drenthe also reported this week that the lion enclosure would be getting a new climbing tree and lounging space, and the elephant habitat would have new sand.