Spain has accrued, over the years, its own small selection of theme parks. Terra Mitica in Benidorm and Port Aventura in Tarragona are perhaps the best known. It looks like there are plans for them to be joined by possibly three more parks across the country. The plans for the Paramount theme park are well underway with the first stone having been laid. Of course, whether it will be followed by a second stone is still under debate.
There are rumours circulating that we could see a ‘European Las Vegas’ opening outside Madrid and, not to be outdone, a Barcelona World in Catalonia. Anyone who is aware of the financial difficulties that Terra Mitica has found itself in may well be forgiven for raising an eyebrow. Can Spain really support another three theme parks when the ones it has already are struggling as it is?
In a presseurop article, ‘Eurovegas won’t hit the jackpot’ Jaime Prats argues that it can’t. He goes even further by pointing that it’s not just Spain where themes parks have flopped but across Europe generally. Disneyland Paris is also a failure in comparison to its American sibling.
Jaime argues that the reason for the poor show of theme parks in Europe is that they’ve got other things instead. ‘The model was developed in the United States, where it let people escape the boredom of the suburbs, where leisure options were limited in practice to shopping malls, and the environment the theme parks offered was friendly and safe for families.’
They made the mistake, he argues, of thinking that what went down well in the US would be just as popular in Europe too. Instead the families of Europe are quite happy to pass their leisure time in their local town or city where there are enough ways of amusing yourself than buying into packaged entertainment.
Of course, for the regions where the new theme parks are a possibility, this is not what they want to hear. Brave is the sponsor who tries their luck in this economic environment.