French firm takes over theme park

A FRENCH operator is taking over one of region's most popular tourist attractions, it was revealed yesterday. The New Pleasurewood Hills Leisure Park, near Lowestoft, has been bought by European attractions operator Grevin and Cie for an undisclosed sum.

A FRENCH operator is taking over one of region's most popular tourist attractions, it was revealed yesterday.

The New Pleasurewood Hills Leisure Park, near Lowestoft, has been bought by European attractions operator Grevin and Cie for an undisclosed sum.

The company intends to run its first British attraction - which attracted 250,000 visitors for a £3.2million turnover last year - as it is for a year, giving it a distinctly “local” theme.

Alexandre Gourevitch, spokesman for the company, said it was too early to say if the park's mascot Woody the Bear would be replaced with fishermen, farming or Boudicea-type characters or if any other changes would be made.


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He said: “We will look at its guests and how the park is conceived over the next year. There are no plans for any immediate changes either to the entertainment or pricing policy.

“But we will be looking to bringing in a local dimension - we want each park to resonate with guests as being an illustration of that area's local folk culture.”

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The company's chairman and chief executive officer, Olivier de Bosredon, said: “With its location, its charm and its history, the park has all it takes to be a brilliant success.

“We look forward to making it an entertainment icon for all of East Anglia.”

Mr Gourevitch, who visited Lowestoft as part of a language exchange over 20 years ago when he was 13 and is looking forward to returning to the area, added the park's 26 full-time and 200 seasonal staff would remain employed at the park with full-time members getting more responsibility.

The Corton amusement park, opened in 1983, joins the eight-year-old company's other 12 French, German, Dutch and Swiss facilities that are visited by more than five million people a year, including Parc Asterix, north of Paris, where the company has its headquarters, the Grevin Wax Show, France's answer to Madame Tussard's, and the Dolphinarium of the Netherlands.

Pleasurewood Hills is now supervised by Alain Trouve, Grevin and Cie's General Manager, Subsidiaries, with former owner Peter Hadden becoming a company advisor.

The park hit the headlines last week after it was named as the third worst major tourist attraction in the country for providing healthy food for its visitors to eat between its rides, and Mr Gourevitch said it was something the company would be looking into.

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