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themeparkgc

Gold Coast puts Ardent on roller-coaster ride

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DREAMWORLD owner Ardent Leisure continues to feel the effects of the Gold Coast's tourism woes with its core profit for 2010 sliding 23.6 per cent to $34.5 million. But the bowling centre and marina operator yesterday gave some hope that the tide had turned. Ardent's theme park division, which includes Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and the Q-Deck in the Q1 building, weighed on the results despite a healthy 9.6 per cent jump in attendances to 2.1 million. Some of that growth was driven by the contribution from Q-Deck which was acquired in December last year. But this was not enough to keep buoyant its theme park revenue which fell 4.8 per cent to $98.6 million. Ardent's theme park division posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $33.2 million, down 13.8 per cent from $38.5 million. A growth in visitor numbers was offset by a drop in average spending from $53.96 a person to $46.89. Despite another weak result from the Gold Coast, Ardent remains confident in the long-term future of its operations on the tourism strip. The board has approved a capital expenditure plan over the next three years to reinvigorate attendances, starting with the opening of a new ride, Tower of Terror II, next month. A planned walkway atop the Q1 building is set to be built in the second half of this financial year, subject to council and regulatory approvals. Ardent also is pushing to improve international visitor numbers which fell a further 0.2 per cent. Queenslander visitors to its theme parks were up 17 per cent over the year, while interstate tourists improved over the second half, with numbers up 4.2 per cent. Ardent's chief executive Greg Shaw said there had been a 'strong rebound' in theme park revenues since the end of last financial year. Revenues for July jumped 22.8 per cent to $10.6 million compared with a year ago, pointing to a better year. Ardent Leisure's latest bottom-line result is a sharp improvement on 2009. This year's $19 million statutory profit is a significant turnaround to last year's $796,000 loss which was affected by asset writedowns, foreign exchange losses and higher interest costs. The final distribution is 4.25c per stapled security, bringing the full-year payout to 10.75c.
Pretty bad results but I like the sound of the capital expenditure plan over the next three years. I'm hoping a big ride for next year.

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There was also this quote from Ardent's recently released results presentation - 'Board endorsed capital expenditure plan over next three years will strengthen ride inventory and consumer appeal'. I am very relieved to hear the reference to ride inventory as opposed to new interactive attractions or something similar. Let's hope this capital is put to good use with significant investment in new major flagship rides. Considering it looks like there will be no new ride this year (only the ToT refurb) and with the last decent ride added being the Claw in 2004, it is certainly time for a new thrill icon or 2 for the park and perhaps some smaller but still significant new family rides

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There was also this quote from Ardent's recently released results presentation - 'Board endorsed capital expenditure plan over next three years will strengthen ride inventory and consumer appeal'. I am very relieved to hear the reference to ride inventory as opposed to new interactive attractions or something similar. Let's hope this capital is put to good use with significant investment in new major flagship rides. Considering it looks like there will be no new ride this year (only the ToT refurb) and with the last decent ride added being the Claw in 2004, it is certainly time for a new thrill icon or 2 for the park and perhaps some smaller but still significant new family rides
I totally agree GoGoBoy. Dreamworld can lift themselves back into premier park status by installing one or two high end flagship rides. Preferably this could include a new coaster( who is thinking woodie?) and a major flat. Then they can concentrate on fleshing out certain areas of the park that is crying out for attention ( Eureka Mine ride removal and Skyway removal being critical, but I would also add a overhaul of Motocoaster, of which has been almost universally panned). Add in a total of 3-5 smaller well themed family orientated rides and the overall Dreamworld experience would be lifted tenfold. The re-invigoration of Tower of Terror is a great starting point.Lets hope that the funds gathered are utilsed correctly and is managed by a person who has a direct vision for the park to follow, and the experience to implement it in the best possible way. B) Cheers Jobe

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This gives me some confidence that Dreamworld will be picking its game back up. After the take over, seems as if there is finally a CEO and board who want to see long term for the park, not just small worth-nothing attractions for the short term. Hopefully, we will see either a modern roller coaster (by modern I mean steel accelerator, which is all the hype lately!) OR a woodie to hopefully bring back some fun into Gold Rush country. Both would be awesome, but I wouldn't mind another flat ride to even out lines. Rides like Wipeout and Claw are good as they are relatively short waits. I think Dreamworld need something like the Giant Drop to dominate another part of Dreamworld's sky line to attract the attention of tourists driving past from Brisbane international AND domestic! Good Work Dreamworld!

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