The Wildlands Adventure Zoo in Emmen is 8 million euros in debt this year, so the park is making drastic changes: up to 15 employees are being laid off, ticket prices are going down and the animal habitats will be made more visible for visitors.
Translation by Traci White
RTV Drenthe reports that the park is shifting its focus away from being an amusement park and returning to its original identity as a zoo. Ticket prices will be lowered by 2.50 euros and the park will be cutting back on its marketing and hiring entertainment.
The park’s debts have been attributed to visitor numbers steadily declining since the park opened in 2016, replacing the Emmen Zoo which originally opened in 1935. Visitor numbers are unlikely to hit one million this year, and the park was counting on 1.2 million visitors over the course of 2018. The park had 1.3 million visitors in the year that it reopened, but the park fell short of one million visitors in 2017 and is looking at fewer than 900,000 this year.
A survey into the reason for low visitor turnout revealed that the park’s new identity as a combination of a zoo and an amusement park was too unclear. Visitors also reported feeling disappointed in how difficult it was to actually see some of the animals.
In response to those findings, the park is planning to rearrange the animal habitats to add more viewing areas and create more habitats in currently empty sections of the park. Wildlands has 7,000 animals in four different subsections of the park: Jungola, Serenga, Nortica and Animazia.
Another new addition in Emmen in 2016 was the Atlas Theater, which is located right next door to the entrance to the park. The theatre has been struggling financially since opening and had hoped that profits from Wildlands would help to cover their own loses, but that will not be the case in 2018.
In September, the director of the park, Frankwin van Beers, announced that he was stepping down, saying that he was not the right person to lead the park on its new course.
Photo source: Wikipedia