Letter from the Editors — Winter 2021

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What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Well, 2020, that was different! Let’s hope that 2021 brings more stability, to the world of adventure parks at least.

Ten months into the pandemic, we’ve learned a great deal about our industry, and have accelerated its evolution in several areas. As trying and difficult as it has been, the signs for the post-pandemic era are favorable. More streamlined business models, smoother processes, and a growing market for outdoor activities all hold great promise. We are better informed about Covid protocols, and we have vaccines rolling out from several companies.

There will still be some bumps in the road during 2021. Even with all we’ve learned about operating during Covid times, the course of the economy and the public mood is unclear. As our State of the Industry report in this issue shows, adventure park operators remain concerned about how Covid-19 will impact business. Check out more of the key takeaways on page 34, and be sure to order the full report to help inform your rebound in 2021.

To aid our recovery, it’s important to adopt every available lesson that 2020 has taught us. We address many of them in this issue, both for operations that opened last year and those that didn’t. You’ll find ideas here for successful adaptations in staff training, managing crowds while boosting revenue, and activities for kids. See how proper training and nonpharmaceutical interventions can make camps worth opening. Plus, we look at developments in gear and activities that could help power business in the future, from the latest in belay systems to augmented reality.

We at Adventure Park Insider have shifted our business model, too, to help the industry adapt. We added our Huddles to help operators connect and jump-start thinking about operations during the pandemic. We shifted to digital publishing to reach you, our audience, wherever you might be isolating or working. (We will resume our print publication later this year. Watch for signs.)

Most of us have come through the past year in better shape than we expected when life shut down last March. With creative thinking and a willingness to change, we persevered and, in some cases, pulled out some record breaking numbers last summer. Amazing!

The good news is, whatever obstacles pop up in the future won’t seem as daunting as they might have previously. Run of the mill emergencies and disasters will seem tame in comparison. For that, we can all be grateful.

—The Editors

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