In Germany, Europa-Park hopes to quickly turn the page on the Covid-19 crisis

On this Thursday, June 24, the car parks in Rust (Baden-Württemberg) of Europa-Park are only half full. The second largest amusement park in Europe, located a stone’s throw from the Franco-German border, reopened on May 21, but it was mainly the Germans who answered the call. Blame it on border crossing restrictions, which were lifted late. The health pass required at the gates of the park, with the performance of a PCR or antigen test of less than twenty-four hours for any unvaccinated person, including children of 6 years, also slows down more than one. Those ready for the nasal swab, on the other hand, benefit from the lack of a queue. “I didn’t expect there to be so few people”, underlines, under cover of anonymity, a passionate of rides, come from the north of France with two friends.

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Even with a tonnage reduced by a third, the fleet owned by the Mack family does not fill up. It refuses to communicate the slightest number of attendance over the last month. As for the adjoining aquatic complex, inaugurated in November 2019, it will have been closed for longer than in operation. The health crisis has indeed affected Europa-Park, when the family SME had just made the largest investment in its history: 250 million euros for the construction of a water park of more than 40,000 m2, intended to remain open all year round, accompanied by a 4-star hotel. With its six establishments totaling 1,257 rooms, the Mack family is at the head of the first hotel complex in Germany.

In 2020, between total closure and reduced capacity, the park received only 2.5 million visitors, compared to more than 5.7 million in 2019

The group has suffered greatly from the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, between total closure and reduced capacity, the park received only 2.5 million visitors, against more than 5.7 million in 2019. Group turnover (including ticketing, in-store sales and the hotel industry), which for several years exceeded 350 million euros, has fallen by more than 300 million euros.

So when the Land gave permission to Europa-Park to reopen on May 21, As part of a pilot project led by the University Hospital of Friborg, Roland Mack, the founder of the park, did not hesitate. “We learned from the first phase of the crisis that it is important to reopen very quickly, even if all the activities cannot be provided. Each day of closure causes us to lose several hundred thousand euros ”, he confides. “The majority of the employees stayed, which allowed us to meet the deadline”, adds his brother Jürgen, financial director of the group. As last year, Europa-Park recruited some 400 seasonal workers, the majority of whom were French. Despite the constraints of crossing the border, more of them apply than a few years ago.

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