Despite the coronavirus scare, Indians are not only stepping out but are also opting for outdoor entertainment.
One favourite destination seems to be amusement parks. Top players in the theme park space such as Wonderla and Imagicaa are seeing people enjoying rides.
Wonderla's Bengaluru park registered 36,121 footfalls after the park reopened on November 13 and the Kochi park saw 8,591 footfalls after it reopened on December 24.
Arun K Chittilappilly, Managing Director, said that while compared to last year footfalls are much lower, Wonderla has been open only for five days.
"In Bengaluru, we were open only four days a week in December. On weekends we did well as compared to last year. We are reliant on school and college crowds between November and January period which did not happen this year as not all schools and colleges have reopened. But retail footfalls are doing well," Chittilappilly told Moneycontrol.
He added that when the Bengaluru park reopened, for the first month, tickets were being sold for Rs 699 which later was increased to Rs 999. "Even after the change in pricing, we did not see a drop in footfalls. So, if the footfall trend continues like this, by summer we can open everyday," he said.
Imagicaa, which had reopened on December 25 for a three-day weekend has been seeing week-on-week upward growth rate of 20 percent, said Dhimant Bakshi, Joint CEO, Imagicaaworld Entertainment.
People are not only enjoying land rides but are also opting for water rides. While Imagicaa has not yet started water rides, Wonderla is seeing all its visitors opting for water rides.
In addition, at the theme parks, people are not only coming for one-day trips but are also opting for mini-vacations by staying at resorts.
"For Bengaluru resort, bookings are at 40-50 percent in December as compared to last year. We had only a month and a half of operation in the last quarter (quarter ended December 31) and mostly over the weekend. So, occupancy has returned to resorts as well," said Chittilappilly.
As for Imagicaa's Novotel which reopened since mid-August last year, Bakshi said they have been seeing upward booking trend.
"We have started witnessing good traction post-October with the onset of the festive season," said Bakshi.
But aren't water rides difficult to sanitise?
Chittilappilly said no. "It is much simpler to sanitise water rides as we use chlorine and ozone. Currently, only the dosage is a little higher. Plus, we test the chlorine levels at close intervals. Plus, water is continuously recycled and cleaned. Also, we are not using full capacity in a pool."
Similarly, Imagicaa is ready with its sanitation process whenever it restarts its water rides.
It has 'Defender Filtration System’ in place which helps in water recycling. In addition, they will sanitise pool by continually treating and disinfecting the water with calcium hypochlorite solution. In addition, there will be procedural checks at regular intervals of two hours. The theme park followed similar sanitation process in the pre-COVID period.
"We internally test and measure the water samples from all water park rides especially wave pool," said Bakshi.
Along with traction for water rides, food and beverage (F&B) revenues are an interesting aspect in the amusement park space.
"Average spend (for F&B) is higher as compared to last year. We are slightly better than last year because we are getting spending crowd as retail customers are more. When kids come, they don't spend much," said Chittilappilly.
For the theme park industry, the focus now is on the summer of 2021 as that is the most lucrative period in terms of footfalls. For Imagicaa, the summer season accounts for 40 percent of revenue.
"While it is too early to say whether summer period will be same as last year, we are hoping to remain open all days. Also, people are mostly travelling within the state and we usually depend on local traffic. So accordingly, summer should be good," said Chittilappilly.