Anthony Catanoso, Steel Pier (Atlantic City), USA (pictured): The biggest challenge will be the economy and the effects it will leave on guests’ discretionary spending. For us specifically, it will be how our business will fare among the struggling casino industry. We are primarily a family attraction in a town built for the gaming industry.
Michael Mack, Europa-Park, Germany: Always an issue are labour costs. Labour is a huge thing in Europe, how do we control our costs and still deliver the same quality of service? How can we have the same atmosphere with less people operating the park? I think that is out biggest challenge. Everything else I think we can live with, but you never know what the economy might bring us. We had a really good start to the season but a lot of people are saying we haven’t reached the end of the crisis, some say it is getting better, we don’t really know where we are.
Dennis Vourderis, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park (Coney Island), USA: We face two challenges this season. First will be dealing with the extra volume of customers on the weekends and holidays. The crowds will STILL come to Coney Island’s beach and boardwalk. Since we are the only full size amusement park left, we will need to hire additional staff, and form new queuing areas for the busier rides. These problems are ones that I wish on all of my friends in the amusement park business. Second will be establishing an open channel of communication with whoever comes in to operate the temporary amusements which will occupy the former Astroland site and Stillwell Avenue. I have no problem with more amusements coming to the area, so long as they are licensed, inspected and regulated the same way we are, as Astroland was.
Ulf Larsson, Parks & Resorts Scandinavia, Sweden: The biggest challenge will be to maintain the per capita spending in our parks.