Rust, Germany: Germany’s largest amusement park rounds off its jubilee season “40 years of Europa-Park” with a new record. As Europa-Park owner Roland Mack puts it, “The jubilee year was the best year in our company’s history. For the first time, we achieved 5.5 million visitors in one year.” 2015 was also a year of double-digit investments in millions of euros. 150 new jobs were created and Europa-Park provided apprenticeships for 120 young people.
Europa-Park used the jubilee as an opportunity to thank its visitors and partners for their support over the last 40 years with new attractions and many special highlights. One example of these is the real world début “Alpenexpress VR-Ride” where visitors ride on a real rollercoaster whilst at the same time flying through virtual worlds via a “VR headset” starring Ed Euromaus. This kind of innovation has gone down very well, as testified by the visitor count. And the occupancy rate of the hotels is as high as ever: the number of nights spent by visitors in the hotels and the lengths of stay are continually on the rise. Roland Mack observes that this very sizeable growth can be explained in part by a strong increase in the number of visitors from North Rhine-Westphalia, Hessen and Rhineland Palatinate. And even the number of visitors from France and Switzerland increased by more than 10%.
As Roland Mack says, “Yet again, we have exceeded the visitor count of the previous year. This is the case for the summer season, the winter season and for the Horror Nights, which also broke the visitor count record in this, their tenth anniversary year. The work we have been doing, for many years now, to become an international destination for multiple-day visitors, is beginning to bear fruit. Our conference business has also grown significantly, as it did last year as well. More and more visitors choose to spend more than just one day here.” In 2015, the occupancy rate of the hotels was on average 98% – a new record. For this reason, a new hotel with around 1,000 beds is to be opened in summer 2018. The opening of the new water park is also planned for autumn/winter 2018; the concept is currently in the ‘fine-tuning’ phase. As with Europa-Park itself, the water park will be realised bit by bit, in order to respond directly to the desires and demands of our visitors.
Success for the winter season
The winter season is becoming increasingly important for the overall success of Europa-Park. So far, over 500,000 visitors have enjoyed Europa-Park winter wonderland during the winter months, with the season continuing until 10 January 2016. During this time, around 2,500 firs, 2.5 million lights on 5km of fairy lighting, over 100,000 baubles and countless bonfires transform Europa-Park into a romantic winter landscape. Shows with top-class international artists guarantee the best entertainment.
James Rizzi exhibition proves hugely popular
The James Rizzi exhibition in the Mercedes-Benz Hall was also wildly popular with visitors, displaying over 400 bold, joyful works by the New York Pop art artist and amusement park fan who passed away in 2011. “James Rizzi’s visual language is unmistakeable. His works fit here perfectly,” says Roland Mack, who himself worked at the New York theme park, Coney Island, where Rizzi found many of his motives.
“Ammolite – The Lighthouse Restaurant” retains its second star
There were also culinary causes for cheer in 2015. As well as winning the Foodservice Prize in the spring – a kind of industry Oscar – chef Peter Hagen at the fine-dining restaurant, “Ammolite – The Lighthouse Restaurant”, managed to retain both the Michelin stars he won in 2014 after only two years of cooking there. Europa-Park is the only theme park in the world that boasts Michelin-starred cuisine.
Numerous prizes and honours
The 2015 season was characterised by a great number of prizes and honours for Germany’s largest theme park. In a survey carried out by the German Centre for Tourism on 15,000 foreign tourists to find out the 100 most popular places to visit in Germany, Europa-Park took the top honours for the first time. Neuschwanstein Castle came second and the UNESCO world heritage site Cologne Cathedral took third. As Roland Mack said, “This is the best present that our visitors from all around the globe could give us for Europa-Park’s 40th birthday. We had a very emotional jubilee year.”
At the “Golden Ticket Awards” 2015, Europa-Park was able to put in a convincing performance despite fierce international competition. Germany’s largest theme park was chosen as the “World’s Best Theme Park”, thereby winning the most important category for the second year in a row. At the world’s most important trade fare for the leisure industry, the IAAPA Attractions Expo in November in Orlando, the ice show “Surpr’Ice with the Gods of Greece” and Europa-Park’s first ever own musical “Spook Me! The Europa-Park Musical” won the Brass Ring Award for world’s best theme park shows.
TripAdvisor, one of the world’s largest travel websites, awarded the “Travellers’ Choice Awards” for attractions in 2015 and crowned Europa-Park as the top of the pack in Europe.
A large social contribution
As the year came to a close, Europa-Park’s many social activities came to the fore: the “Happy Hearts” campaign gave 51,000 socially disadvantaged individuals the opportunity to spend an enjoyable day in Germany’s largest theme park during the 2015 season. Thanks to the commitment of the Mack family ever since the founding of Europa-Park in 1975, over a million people have been invited to the park in this way. Other projects such as donation galas, benefit concerts and Europa-Park Eagles Charity Golf Cup show the importance accorded by the Mack family to social responsibility.
The many cultural and social events that have taken place in the history of the company have raised many tens of millions of euros for charitable activities.
Looking to 2016
In the coming year, Europa-Park will again invest over ten million euros in the Rust location. One of the new arrivals will be the Ireland themed area, designed to appeal particularly to young visitors, with more than ten attractions, three completely new rides and a large roofed play world awaiting youngsters in the former “Children’s World” area. A new, ultra-modern event hall is being built for events, concerts and television productions, with Europa-Park also creating a new logistics centre. In spring, building work shall also commence on an all-new major attraction to open in spring 2017. The attraction will be the only one of its kind in Europe.
The winter season at Europa-Park continues until 10 January 2016, with the park open from 11am to 7pm every day.
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