Park expects tide to turn in long term

Dax Eddy, executive director of Jamberoo Action Park. Picture: DAVID HALL

Dax Eddy, executive director of Jamberoo Action Park. Picture: DAVID HALL

AS Jamberoo Action Park pulls down the shutters for winter, its executive director believes the attraction is well prepared to meet the needs of the growing market, despite a drop in numbers.

The success of Sydney's new Wet'n'Wild theme park has been blamed for a decline in visitor numbers at other theme parks.

Wet'n'Wild sold more than 160,000 season passes, worth $12.5 million in revenue, before its opening on December 12.

Jamberoo Action Park executive director Dax Eddy said despite the drop in visitor numbers at Jamberoo, he welcomed the competition, saying in the long-term it grew the market.

"This often happens, when a small regional, family-owned park like ours has major competition move in," he said.

"This is an ongoing thing that happens regularly around the world.

"The industry average is 25 per cent decline on a first season . . . it recovers though. Having other players in the market grows the market.

"For our facility, we only had a slight drop of 15.2 per cent (on the previous September-late April season), which is more than manageable in our eyes."

Mr Eddy said there was already evidence of the market growing since the opening of Wet'n'Wild.

"On December 28, we had a day of 7000 people," he said. "Wet'n'Wild had a day of 12,000.

"So 19,000 people attended a water theme park. A year earlier, [with the] same weather, Wet'n'Wild was not operating and we did 10,000 people.

"The theme park market in NSW has grown from 10,000 to 19,000 in one day."

Mr Eddy said there were currently 2.5 million people visiting Queensland from other states to visit theme parks, and the NSW market comprised a large portion of that.

"A total of 2.5 million travel to Queensland every year to visit theme parks," he said.

"We feel there's a big percentage of those people we are losing from NSW to Queensland."

Mr Eddy said improving attractions and facilities, as well as the entry of Wet'n'Wild into the market would help stem the tide of tourism dollars going interstate.

Jamberoo Action Park started its $40 million Kangaroo Island master-plan development in 2012, building the Funnel Web water attraction and Banjo's Billabong, the largest aqua-play structure in the southern hemisphere. A new 1700-space car park was also built.

Mr Eddy said a combination of quality attractions, beautifully preserved environment and well-trained staff boded well for the park in the long-term.

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