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Reasons for optimism in the Russian attractions market
As the attractions industry tries to return to normal in the wake of COVID-19, we look at some reasons for optimism in the Russian attractions market.
It is becoming obvious that all attempts by the entertainment industry to return to a more or less usual course of work after COVID-19 restrictions have failed. For example, studies in the latter part of 2020 in the United States showed that over 75% of regular visitors to theme parks are not ready to return until the vaccine is adequately addressed.
The catastrophic collapse of demand, the forced decrease of capacity and the additional costs of implementing new hygiene measures have all lead to a further accumulation of losses by the largest parks in the world, following attempts to reopen in the new economic reality.
In Russia, to everyone who still cherishes the dream that all will return back to normal, I can safely say that nothing will return, it will never be habitual again.
COVID-19 and the Russian attractions industry
The COVID-19 crisis in the Russian attractions industry is aggravated by the fact that high-quality entertainment has just begun to appear in the country. The market is young and weak, and reacts extremely negatively to such global tectonic shifts.
For instance, four out of five amusement construction projects planned in Russia at the beginning of 2020 are frozen today for an undefined period. The brand new Dream Island park in Moscow, Europe’s biggest indoor theme park, was closed just one month after its grand opening. Later in the year, it reopened in the most difficult conditions.
The other huge entertainment project in the heart of Moscow, which my team has been working hard on for two years, is The City Of The Future all-season theme park. This venture had no chance even to welcome its first guests, instead going into a foggy waiting mode.
Sochi Park in South Russia looked to be the most successful of Russia’s attractions following the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the late start of the season, a super-powerful quarantine tourist flow (due to closed borders) allowed it to welcome 10,000- 12,000 guests a day during the Summer season. In fact, this is a normal target for this park.