“Due to the high number of visitors, accesses are subject to restrictions today”, so we read yesterday on the website of the Caribe Bay, a water park with a Caribbean theme in Jesolo (Venice). The hot summer 2022 rewards the offer of the 230 Italian parks: “We can speak of a slight increase compared to 2019 for thematic, which is with double-digit percentages for water sports“, comments Maurizio Crisanti, general secretary of the Parks association permanent Italians (Ppi): some exceed the presences in 2019 by 20-30 percent. A positive trend for a sector that in 2019 recorded 20 million visitors, 450 million euros in ticket sales, 1 billion with internal and 2 external activities, 25 thousand direct employees (of which 15 thousand seasonal), 60 thousand with the induced.
«The parks are doing well», confirms Luciano Pareschi, president of the association and owner of Caribe Bay, formerly Aqualandia: «The weather is helping us. I hope this year to exceed 10 million euros in turnover, beyond the levels of 2019, when we had 200 thousand admissions: I expect to reach 250 thousand if the season goes well. Of course, we had to take into account the doubling of electricity and all expenses. In addition to the shortage of staff: we have 220 employees, now we lack 40 people. We invest 1.3 million euros on average every year. Structures like ours lost from 100 to 75% in 2020, 50% in 2021 ».
Aid has been planned for the sector: a first sum distributed in 2021 and a second one foreseen by the Sostegni Ter decree which never arrived: “Once the limit of 30 June 2022 has been exceeded, the measure will technically be managed with the” de minimis “regime, which imposes a maximum ceiling of 200 thousand euros in order not to violate the EU rules of state aid: a small amount if commensurate with the losses suffered due to the closures. In the absence of a corrective, the 20 million provision dedicated to the sector will, in fact, be nullified. We ask the government for immediate action ”, is Pareschi’s appeal.
«Our sector, which gives a lot of employment and development and is firmly inserted in the tourism sector, is underestimated», echoes Giuseppe Ire of Leolandia, amusement park in Capriate San Gervasio (Bergamo). As for attendance, continues Ire, “we are up 218% compared to last year, when the season began on June 15, while this year we had all the spring, even without school trips and summer camps. Before Covid, Leolandia recorded 35 million in turnover and 1 million guests. We expect to close 2022 at around 30 million with 750 thousand admissions. We had to sustain energy price increases of 200% compared to 2019, foodstuffs cost 40% more, while ticket prices are stable or with increases within 4%. Yet we have made investments of 4-5 million in these 3 years and we are planning one of 20 for the next 4 ».
“We have not received aid, we are proceeding with an investment campaign relying on funds that in reality do not exist”, says Umberto Maccario, CEO of Zoom, biopark of Cumiana, Turin. Here, after the pandemic, there was a change of strategy, with the introduction of a hospitality offer: “We estimate that 40 thousand people will sleep here or in neighboring structures during the season”. It is currently sold out. “We are aiming for 500 thousand visitors: 66% more than in 2019. With revenues doubled compared to before Covid: we estimate to close 2022 at 13-14 million. The energy price increases and the difficulty in finding staff are weighing, but ours is a healthy sector on which the tourist expectations of the region and the state should be placed », concludes Maccario.