The number of visitors at theme park Alton Towers is still tanking after a roller coaster accident in June that left 5 people seriously injured and forced 2 people to have their legs amputated at the knee.
A carriage on the Smiler roller coaster collided with another empty one on June 2, leaving the 12 people on the ride trapped 25 ft above ground for 5 hours.
Alton Towers’ owner Merlin Entertainment said at the end of July that this had led to a reduction in visitors and it revealed on Thursday that it is still hitting ticket sales.
The company, which also owns attractions like Sea Life and Madame Tussauds, said in a trading update that revenues from its theme parks are down 11.4% so far this year. Merlin pinned some of the blame on bad summer weather, but admitted that the Alton Towers disaster played a big part.
The company says it now expects profits from its theme park business to be at the lower end of the £40-50 million it previously told investors to expect and said profitability at that division would likely continue to suffer next year.
But, thankfully for Merlin, the jewel in its crown continues to perform. Revenue at Legoland is up by 6.7%, helping to rescue the overall group. Merlin’s total revenue for the year so far is up 0.3% (it has also taken a hit from the strong pound.)
CEO Nick Varney says in Thursday’s statement:
The trends we reported at the half year have continued throughout the summer. The performance of our LEGOLAND Parks Operating Group has remained strong, with very positive guest satisfaction. However, this has been offset by the impact of reduced visitation across the Resort Theme Parks Operating Group, primarily at Alton Towers Resort, and Euro weakness impacting visitation at our London attractions.