Last week Goof Lukken, lecturer at the Attractions & Theme Parks Management track, travelled together with Dutch students of Tourism Management to Salou, Spain. They were visiting PortAventura World to get inspiration for a project concerning productivity that they are executing for the Efteling.
And they were inspired! The resort consists of a theme park (with as a general theme exploration and countries), a waterpark, several themed hotels and the future Ferrari World (third gate). The new massive project is backed by a large €100 million investment aimed at increasing PortAventura’s whopping attendance of over four million visitors to over five million visitors in 2017. Ferrari Land will cover a space of 75,000 square meters where it will hold rides, memorabilia sites, dining and more. The highlight of the rides will be the fastest and highest vertical (112meters high) roller coaster in Europe. The ride is befitting of the Ferrari brand, which is recognized as a symbol of speed. Unfortunately we could only see the new Ferrari rollercoaster that towers over the total resort.
Short stay destination
But they did get the chance to visit the PortAventura’s main theme park and speak to International Sales Manager Emma Drescot. She gave them an insight to the current and future plans of the whole resort. PortAventura tries to be a short stay destination for families and teens. Next to these two target groups, the resort also attracts a lot of business travelers. The resort owns a large congress center. The hotels at the resort have to have an additional value for the guest, because the destination of Salou already has a lot of different accommodations. That is why PortAventura hotels are highly themed and are located near the theme park or even connected to the themed areas of the theme park like the western themed area. The best accommodation is the Gold River Hotel. It looks like a Western town and has more than 500 rooms. But it has a very charming atmosphere, because al the hotel buildings are divided over the different houses of the Western town.
Record rides and beautiful shows
The theme park itself has a strong combination of record rides and shows, all in themed environments. The theme park has the fastest (launch coaster Furious Baco) and highest (Shambhala) rollercoasters in Europe. Next to several open air shows (such as a Polynesian dance show and a bird show), the park also has a big theater for indoor productions. Exceptional is the routing and lay-out of the park. The loop model is used and this brings almost every guest at lunch time near the big, Mexican themed, restaurant at the center of the park. Situated in a typical Mexican village you can eat at the town square where gringo’s preform.At the end of the day a parade starring all the preforming artists and characters brings the guest back at the entrance area.
If you would like to go to PortAventura in the future, keep in mind that the EAS will be in Barcelona, Spain at the end of September this year. All the Attractions & Theme Parks Management students will get the possibility to join on a trip to this convention/trade show. And because Salou is only a one hour drive, you could combine it with your trip to the EAS.