Aerial adventure operations are hosting roughly half their usual number of visits, according to an Adventure Park Insider survey. And they largely expect volumes to increase over the rest of the season. These results are heartening despite the challenges and uncertainty facing many operators due to the novel coronavirus.
Intended as an informal gauge of the health of the industry, the survey was conducted July 22 to 28, and drew 57 responses from across North America.
Three-quarters of respondents—75 percent—are open and operating in at least a limited capacity, and a quarter are fully open. Many have had to limit capacity for safety reasons or due to regional restrictions. On average, those operations have limited capacity to 48 percent of normal. However, the range varies significantly, with some operating at less than 10 percent of normal, while others are nearing normal capacity.
Much of this variance is dependent on region, as well as on business type. Many camps and experiential programs have had to make significant cuts to group size. In contrast, many zip lines and aerial adventure parks have been able to operate with fewer limitations.
Nearly 80 percent of respondents indicated that they believe business will stay steady or increase as the season progresses. This confidence that visitors will continue to visit aerial adventure attractions also bodes well for next season.
Survey respondents are largely optimistic about surviving the coronavirus. A majority of respondents indicate that while a strong season in 2021 will be important for their survival, less than 10 percent said they will need a banner year in 2021 to remain afloat.
While many concerns and uncertainties remain, especially in terms of school groups and the long-term impacts of the spring shutdown, many respondents indicated that guests are eager to get outside and escape the isolation of their homes. That, too, is a positive indicator.
“I’m so glad to work in an outdoor resort in these times,” said one respondent. “People are so happy to be out in nature in the fresh, open air….I’m finding a lot of new people are trying us out.”