The municipality of Emmen is considering the serious possibility that Wildland Adventure Zoo may fall millions of euros short of breaking even this year.
Translation by Traci White
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that the municipality loaned the Adventure Park 44 million euros, and it is currently looking unlikely that the city will see all of that money paid back. Visitor numbers to the park remain lower than expected, and the park has been working on a new business plan in response. The plan is meant to be completed by the end of this calendar year.
RTV Drenthe writes that the park’s so called financial risk profile has been raised from 10 percent to 30 percent, which refers to the likelihood that the park will be unable to fully repay the municipal loan.
Wildlands opened in 2016 after converting an existing zoo into more of an animal theme park. In its first year, the park had 1.3 million visitors and met its financial goals, but visitor numbers were closer to one million in 2017 and left the park 1.8 million euros in the red. The park needs to hit 1.1 million visitors this year to break even, but the park is currently projecting to have fewer than one million visitors by the end of 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. An interim director will lead the park until a new director is chosen in the coming months.
Despite its financial position, the animal park did have several highlights this year: two baby elephants were born to the elephant herd, a newborn zebra joined the zoo in March and the park added its first rollercoaster, Tweestryd.