Investment for the future; Juliana Delaney responds to big numbers for tourism in Britain in 2020

Investment for the future

Juliana Delaney responds to big numbers for tourism in Britain in 2020

Crunching the numbers

“It has been a big month of big numbers from our national tourism agencies, VisitBritain and Visit England, not only highlighting that Britons ‘staycationing’ this year is on the rise and will add £27bn to the UK economy, but also that visitors spent £951m in Britain last year and that this is expected to also increase.

“These figures and their projected positive impact make me feel excited, encouraged, energised…and ever-more focused on the importance of staying relevant. It’s certainly not the moment for attractions to rest on their laurels with the security that visitors will come. We are operating in an increasingly broad competitive field, where screens big and small compete for people’s time, and where even a trip to the cinema is referred to as ‘light exercise’ (University College London research).

Climate disruption

“With climate change and weather disruption top of the news agenda, there is added insecurity of what the weather will do, in addition to the unknown real impact of Brexit, which undoubtedly will affect us negatively from the European visitor.”

Investing for the future

“The only matter we can be assured about is that we need to continue to invest in our offering and in our people. And we need to work collaboratively with others, such as our local tourism bodies, other attractions, accommodation providers and national organisations, to ensure that we can create the biggest impact possible not just for ourselves, but for our regions and all those who live, work and visit them.”

Already this year, we confirmed £100k investment in new interpretation of The Plague and Queen Mary exhibitions in Edinburgh, significant investment in York’s Chocolate Story to enhance the guest experience and increase our fresh chocolate production, and the unveiling of a new ‘Giant’ attraction at the sustainability focused Greenwood Family Park in Wales.

“We’ve set aside substantial budget for staff training, building on the mental health awareness campaign from 2019, where we worked together with St John’s Ambulance to train personnel at each of our eight sites as mental health first aiders. We’re prepped to embrace the challenges of 2020, we’re also braced for the highs and lows that will naturally come as part of the ride.”

That was Juliana Delaney, our Chief Executive commenting on the latest tourism news.

Continuum Attractions Purchase GreenWood Forest Park

Continuum Attractions announces that the company has purchased GreenWood Forest Park, Y Felinheli, North Wales. The sale went through on Monday 17th July 2017.

Continuum Attractions has bought GreenWood Forest Park because it is a successful and award winning family adventure park business and an unmissable opportunity for the business to expand into the family, outdoor attraction market.

Andrew Pawson, Financial Director of Continuum Attractions says:

“GreenWood Forest Park is a wonderful place to visit, it also has a fantastic team in place, which is delivering that success. It offers a great visit for happy and loyal guests. It also champions green and sustainability issues, and manages its environmental impact. We are very proud to take on the GreenWood legacy. We believe in the future of tourism, particularly in North Wales.”

They operate heritage and entertainment themed attractions across the UK and are thrilled to be adding an outdoor business to their portfolio.

Kevin Smith, Group Attractions Director commented:

“We are delighted to have added GreenWood Forest Park to our portfolio of outstanding UK visitor attractions. Continuum Attractions has been keen to expand into outdoor, family experiences and GreenWood will offer a fantastic opportunity for us to do so.

North Wales is a fantastic place to visit, not only is it an area of outstanding beauty but as the popularity of the ‘staycation’ continues, the area is becoming a thriving hub for holiday makers both nationally and internationally.”

GreenWood Forest Park is a TripAdvisor UK Top 10 Attraction and a North Wales Tourist Board Green and Innovation Award-winner. North Wales was voted 4th best place to visit globally by Lonely Planet.

Continuum Attractions celebrate The ‘Story’ of their Success

Continuum Attractions is currently seeing a significant increase in visitor numbers across the business and their research suggests that this is due to their visitor’s desire for a good story.

The company has always been at the forefront of the UK attractions industry through the presentation of well told stories in fascinating locations.

The Jorvik Viking Centre, which was opened by the company in 1984, was hugely innovative in terms of immersing visitors into ‘History as a Story’. For the first time, visitors could touch and smell things and really experience the stories and history of the subject rather than view it quietly from behind barriers and glass cases.

CEO Juliana Delaney, who has been with the company from the very beginning, is known for joking: “Our story begins with a hole in the ground but that’s all very much in our past now”

33 years later, the company certainly has come a long way, working with over 100 visitor attractions across the world and currently operating 9 attractions in the UK in Edinburgh, Leeds, Oxford, Canterbury, Gwynedd, Cardiff, Portsmouth and York, where the head office is based.

Each attraction tells a unique neighbourhood story, from the amazing warren of streets frozen in time beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to celebrating the famous tales of Chaucer or the iconic Yorkshire based drama -Emmerdale.

Group Head of Sales and Marketing, Julie Ozbek attests the continued success of the company to the storytelling.

“Our visitors love the stories that we tell and the interactive way that we deliver them. Our own research confirms that experiences that highlight history and nostalgia are now more in demand than ever.

We know that more people are staying in the UK for their leisure time now as well as overseas visitors coming into the country.

Other factors are likely to have had an effect on our increased admission numbers. Recent concerns over the safety of the city of London may also have contributed to visitors considering other key tourism destinations within the UK. Cities like York and Edinburgh appear to be becoming more popular as destinations. Because these cities have been a less obvious choice, particularly to international travellers in the past, visitors are more interested to learn about the broader UK heritage and the unique stories of the places that they are experiencing.” 

Many potential visitors might know that York was home to Vikings but are delighted to learn more about how it is the UK’s home of Chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story. This attraction in particular has seen a 12% increase in visitors from 2016 while Oxford Castle Unlocked, which tells the story of the city’s Norman castle turned prison is 13% up on the previous year.

The majority of the attractions are fully guided and offer interactive elements which appeal to visitors of all ages. The theatrical and innovative presentations mean that visitors come away informed and entertained which can be confirmed by consistently positive feedback and various awards and accreditations.

Continuum Attractions have turned storytelling into a hugely effective enterprise and have established themselves as experts in the leisure industry. With a portfolio spanning over 3 decades, the story of the company’s success is certainly not a thing of the past but a potential for further success.

Continuum Attractions Directors Visit Greenwood Forest Park

There have been some new faces on site at GreenWood Forest Park this week.

The directors of Continuum Attractions, the company that purchased the park earlier in July, have been onsite getting to know the staff and guests, they are delighted with the purchase and are committed to maintaining the wonderful feel at Y Felinheli.

CEO: Juliana Delaney has strong connections to the area with relatives living in Bethel and Caernarfon. She has been a frequent visitor to the local area since she was 2 years old and is well known for professing the beauty and charms of North Wales.

She says:

“We are thrilled to have added GreenWood Forest Park to the Continuum Attractions family. North Wales is a place very dear to my heart and a region that has a fantastic future for tourism. The park is already such a great day out for guests with a passionate team dedicated to providing the very best experience for everyone. Myself and the rest of the team at Continuum Attractions look forward to working with our new colleagues to continue this for years to come.   

The former owners Steve and Andrea Bristow, who set up the business 25 years ago, made the decision to retire to enjoy more time to travel and spend with family. York based Continuum Attractions operates visitor experiences across the UK and has a long history of managing successful family friendly attractions.

Andrew Pawson, Continuum Attractions Director commented, in between goes on the Solar Splash Slides:

“We are delighted to have added GreenWood Forest Park to our portfolio of award winning visitor attractions.

Continuum Attractions has bought GreenWood Forest Park because it is a successful and award winning family adventure park business. The focus on sustainability is really important across our business.

North Wales is a fantastic place to visit and has important cultural traditions such as the use of the Welsh language. We are absolutely committed to continuing the tradition of the use of Welsh as the first language on site at GreenWood Forest Park.”  

Jim Jones Managing Director of North Wales Tourism has also had an opportunity to meet with the new owners this week and says:

“I am delighted that Continuum Attractions have purchased Greenwood Forest Park, as it demonstrates yet again the confidence businesses have by investing in North Wales. We are not Lonely Planet’s 4th best place to visit on the planet for nothing!

I have had an opportunity to meet the CEO Juliana Delaney, who I am very impressed with, she has a great team and knows the area very well. She didn’t need any convincing on the opportunities being based here in North Wales has for the future of Greenwood Forest Park and the expanding portfolio of Continuum Attractions.

I very much look forward to continue to support and work with the team going forward”

Praise in Scottish Parliament for The Real Mary King’s Close and British Travel Awards

Gordon Lindhurst, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Member of Scottish Parliament for the Lothian region has praised 2 Edinburgh visitor attractions, The Real Mary King’s Close and Edinburgh Castle while speaking in Parliament last week. The city centre attractions have both been shortlisted for Best UK Heritage Attraction Award at the upcoming British Travel Awards. A prestigious list of only 5 attractions across the UK.

Mr Lindhurst lodged a motion for congratulations with the Scottish Parliament on Friday 7th July supported by 18 other Members:

“The Parliament congratulates everyone at The Real Mary King’s Close and Edinburgh Castle on the attractions being nominated for the Best UK Heritage Attraction Award at the British Travel Awards. Recognises the value of The Real Mary King’s Close attraction in the telling of Old Town Edinburgh in the 17th Century, including the lives of the people who lived within the tenement buildings and the devastating effects of the plague on the local populations; understands that since opening in 2003 the attraction has been one of the most popular in Edinburgh city centre for tourists.”  

Mr Lindhurst then went on to say that:

“being part of a shortlist of five across the UK is testament to the value that Edinburgh holds in terms of UK Heritage” before going on to wish everyone at The Real Mary King’s Close, including the operators, Continuum Attractions all the very best ahead of the announcement of the award on the 29th November.

Owned and operated by Continuum Attractions, The Real Mary King’s Close is a VisitScotland five-star attraction allows visitors to step back in time and be guided through these famous underground closes to witness some of the most dramatic episodes from Edinburgh’s incredible past.

CEO of the Continuum Attractions, Juliana Delaney commented:

“I would like to thank Mr Lindhurst and other supporting members of the Scottish Parliament for highlighting the significance of seeing Edinburgh so well represented in these prestigious awards. Our nomination is a true testament to the fantastic team at The Real Mary King’s Close and the contribution they make to tourism in Edinburgh.”

2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, a celebration of Scotland’s people, traditions, distinct culture, landscapes, attractions and icons, as well as hidden gems.