Universal Attractions

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Universal Attractions's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Universal Attractions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

southportpleasureland.com

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
24 | PALMER & PARKER
A robust market
Although one may expect otherwise,
Brexit is not an issue that has heavily
affected us. As we operate at the
luxury end of the market, our clients
are less likely to cut back and luxury
travel is less likely to be affected than
other segments of the market.
Although Brexit itself did not have much
of an impact, the initial uncertainty
did lead to a slower rate of bookings
around Easter in 2018; as many were
waiting to see what happened after
the referendum, our rate of booking
at this time was slower than normal.
However, as this uncertainty faded,
bookings surgedagain.
Catering for the discerning
traveller
The luxury market is very strong, and
we are planning to take advantage
of this to fuel our growth. We
are entering a significant period
of expansion and have recently
undergone a complete rebrand. We
stepped back and studied our logos
and website, redesigning them to
ensure they were sleeker and had
additional functionality to entice
the more discerning traveller. Our
website has been overhauled, and
we are planning to launch our new
brand identity in 2020. This will be
accompanied by an expansion of
the destinations we offer as well
as our villa portfolio in our existing
destinations. Beyond this, we
are looking to introduce a skiing
programme by introducing fully
catered chalets in the Alps which
we can rent to our customers in the
wintermonths.
We see 2020 as a year of growth.
We are extremely excited to expand
our scope even further, adding
new destinations and ensuring our
portfolio remains at the forefront of
the industry. As part of our growth
strategy, we have recently acquired
Quality Villas. This brand will focus
on the mid-luxury market and will be
more affordable than our standard
provision. With this in place, and our
services diversified, we can focus on
ensuring that Palmer & Parker grow
into the future as an even more
exclusive brand, expanding both our
specialisation and our breadth.
We see 2020
as a year of
growth – we
are extremely
excited to
expand our
scope even
further,
adding new
destinations
and ensuring
our portfolio
remains at the
forefront of
the industry
Handpicked luxury properties
for the discerning customer
25UNIVERSAL ATTRACTIONS |
LEISURE & TOURISM
Founder Norman Wallis
Perennially popular:
dinosaurs
Norman Wallis is an international tourism expert who specialises
in creating family-focused entertainment, from dynamic theme
parks and immersive experiences to leading international visitor
attractions across the world. Norman has spent the last 12 years
regenerating a derelict amusement park in Southport – now a family
attraction that draws more than 500,000 visitors during its short
12-week season. Norman tells
TheParliamentary Review
that he is
planning a series of heavyweight improvements to develop his theme
park into a year-round, international family destination attraction that
will boost the visitor economy of both the region and the country
more widely. He discusses how entertainment is destined to be part
of the solution for the British economy and how technology can be
harnessed to enhance real-life experiences.
The potential of character-based brand-growth for the entertainment world
has yet to reach its zenith. The marriage between strong IP characters and real-
life immersive entertainment is powerful. The best IPs have the potential to lift
character-themed attractions’ visitor numbers by between 30 and 100 per cent.
The real trick is to get the character and the entertainment and leisure formula
right, and to do so sustainably while embracing new technologies and the practical
needs of the different age groups and interests each family contains.
Some of the most enduringly popular characters have progressed from printed
comic books to animation and then on to real-life and CGI-augmented all-action
blockbuster movies. With every move, the character asset has generated increased
revenue, popularity and fans.
FACTS ABOUT
UNIVERSAL ATTRACTIONS
»Founder: Norman Wallis
»Southport Pleasureland family
amusement park was founded
in 2007
»Owned and operated by North
West–based global tourism
attractions company Universal
Rides
»Services: Family-focused
entertainment and attractions
»Norman’s international
tourism consultancy, Universal
Attractions, has been
delivering “imagined worlds”
for more than 30 years
Universal Attractions
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | UNIVERSAL ATTRACTIONS
While the characters and their cohort of
pals have progressed from sketchbook
to the big screen, their brands have
developed high-value equity alongside
a life of their own outside of charming
fairy tales or audacious movie plots and
beyond-belief stunts.
Imagination and fantasy are important,
but so too are real-world environmental
issues. The movie business’ constant
reinvention is just one example of
how cartoons, animations and literary
characters continue to resonate with
their audiences. These are brands
that extend their reach not only with
coveted merchandise but also with truly
immersive experiences – ones where
people interact with characters in a
virtual reality world.
Theme parks lead the way in
creating accessible alternative
worlds
Theme parks are leading the way in
creating spaces where the impossible,
the unimaginable and the unlikely are
all part of the everyday. If space is the
final frontier, this inner space, one
that explores pure imagination, is right
upthere.
The world is changing, and the unique
worlds theme parks have the ambition
to create within it are changing too.
Delivering them is more challenging in
every way. Expectation is higher; people
expect to be astonished, as well as
entertained. Designers are called upon
to remove logic and basic rules, such as
gravity, human limitations. “Imaginators”
are charged with working without
boundaries to reach the ultimate “wow”.
Parks have to follow stringent health and
safety rules; their staff have to be well-
trained, knowledgeable and efficient, as
well as cheerful and friendly. The rides’
landscape and entertainments have to
offer something new every visit. And
those real-world practicalities can’t be
ignored. The planet these “other worlds”
sit within is changing too, and everyone
has to consider its welfare. We have to
ensure that the commercial model works
for everyone – customers, staff, retail
and the businesses behind the magic.
Truly immersive experiences go beyond
virtual reality. Visitors enter a world that
is “other”, and before they get to the
technology, they are already embraced
in the outer regions of that world. The
whole space has to be on-brand and
deliver an experience that is in step
with living in your chosen superhero,
children’s cartoon star or much-loved
literary characters’ worlds. Retail has a
big part to play. People want to wear
the brand – and have fun with it, to eat,
drink and sleep it. They want to soak
up an atmosphere that has authenticity
and fires their own imaginations.
Themed worlds and
immersive experiences
Leisure and retail
partnerships
The potential
of character-
based brand-
growth for the
entertainment
world has yet
to reach its
zenith
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | UNIVERSAL ATTRACTIONS
While the characters and their cohort of
pals have progressed from sketchbook
to the big screen, their brands have
developed high-value equity alongside
a life of their own outside of charming
fairy tales or audacious movie plots and
beyond-belief stunts.
Imagination and fantasy are important,
but so too are real-world environmental
issues. The movie business’ constant
reinvention is just one example of
how cartoons, animations and literary
characters continue to resonate with
their audiences. These are brands
that extend their reach not only with
coveted merchandise but also with truly
immersive experiences – ones where
people interact with characters in a
virtual reality world.
Theme parks lead the way in
creating accessible alternative
worlds
Theme parks are leading the way in
creating spaces where the impossible,
the unimaginable and the unlikely are
all part of the everyday. If space is the
final frontier, this inner space, one
that explores pure imagination, is right
upthere.
The world is changing, and the unique
worlds theme parks have the ambition
to create within it are changing too.
Delivering them is more challenging in
every way. Expectation is higher; people
expect to be astonished, as well as
entertained. Designers are called upon
to remove logic and basic rules, such as
gravity, human limitations. “Imaginators”
are charged with working without
boundaries to reach the ultimate “wow”.
Parks have to follow stringent health and
safety rules; their staff have to be well-
trained, knowledgeable and efficient, as
well as cheerful and friendly. The rides’
landscape and entertainments have to
offer something new every visit. And
those real-world practicalities can’t be
ignored. The planet these “other worlds”
sit within is changing too, and everyone
has to consider its welfare. We have to
ensure that the commercial model works
for everyone – customers, staff, retail
and the businesses behind the magic.
Truly immersive experiences go beyond
virtual reality. Visitors enter a world that
is “other”, and before they get to the
technology, they are already embraced
in the outer regions of that world. The
whole space has to be on-brand and
deliver an experience that is in step
with living in your chosen superhero,
children’s cartoon star or much-loved
literary characters’ worlds. Retail has a
big part to play. People want to wear
the brand – and have fun with it, to eat,
drink and sleep it. They want to soak
up an atmosphere that has authenticity
and fires their own imaginations.
Themed worlds and
immersive experiences
Leisure and retail
partnerships
The potential
of character-
based brand-
growth for the
entertainment
world has yet
to reach its
zenith
27UNIVERSAL ATTRACTIONS |
LEISURE & TOURISM
Environmental challenges and
the Fourth Industrial Revolution
In the early part of the Fourth Industrial
Revolution we have heightened
environmental challenges to respondto.
The circular economy bears an uncanny
similarity to the later post-war years,
where people fixed things, recycled to
save resources and repurposed for thrift
and creativity. While this revolution
might be a brave step forward, the
circular economy is a look over our
shoulders at how we livedsustainably.
The old and the new, taken together, is
a great formula to use when examining
the way forward for, in my view,
the best industry in the world. The
business of creating fun, memories and
experiences that stay with us long after
the day is done. We have to create our
imagined worlds with care and respect.
The destinations that will flourish are
those that strike a formula that resonates
with families across multiple layers.
First they have to entertain – and
that’s absolutely everyone in the
family. That doesn’t mean the whole
family doing one thing, rather a park
that allows families to find something
for everyone to do. Believe me that
is difficult. Teens in particular are a
tough audience. Their choices have to
deliver high-visibility credibility as well
as thrills. Little ones need appropriate
rides and stimulating technologies like
augmented reality that can help them
to have fun while they learn.
There is going to be a rapid growth
period for the destinations that don’t
get caught napping, here, across
Europe and further afield. Strong retail
elements that are tailored to entertain
and engage will have a vital role to
play. Carefully thought-out retail
choices need to find clever ways to link
their offers to the theme. Restaurants
and hotels, merchandise and even
dining, drink and snack concessions
must meet high expectations.
The impact these attractions can
create and sustain for neighbouring
immersive retail offerings shouldn’t
beunderestimated.
Our industry must challenge itself
to adjust its business models to
take advantage of technologies and
create sustainably while maximising
cost-efficiency and profitability. The
value to a town’s retail footprint is
serious – towns have to recognise the
opportunity and work with an anchor
attraction that will become a catalyst
for the future.
An ambitious leisure attraction on the
doorstep might not be the first solution
to high street retail’s problems to spring
to mind – but its business is attracting
people. If people come, then give them
more to do, see, spend on and enjoy at
the outer reaches of the destinations on
the doorstep before they travel further
afield to find them. Retail beyond
the borders and a full-on immersive
experience delivered responsibly and
sustainably is the right route to stay
relevant and at the top of the family
visit list. Retail, now is your chance to
grasp the opportunity – andshine.
Retail beyond
the borders and
a full-on
immersive
experience
delivered
responsibly and
sustainably is
the right route
to stay relevant
and at the top
of the family
visit list
» DISNEY: THE FIRST ENTERTAINMENT
ENVIRONMENTALIST
Walt Disney risked everything to buy a swamp in Florida in the 1960s.
Unpromising as the land looked, it had everything he needed. It was
cheap and he was thinking big. He wanted to control his world and
its approaches so that the journey matched up to expectations of the
destination. Ultimate control comes through land ownership, so he
thought – and bought – big.
Forty-seven square miles became the Walt Disney World Resort, going
from swamp to number-one vacation destination in the world. Massive
amounts of earth had to be shifted. Disney had to transform the
foundations of his new world first, taking care to balance the needs
of the environment and ecology. If any part of the area’s water supply
was interrupted, it would have caused a massive ecological imbalance.
Disney set aside a 7,500-acre conservation area in 1970, which would
never be built on, for the cypress trees and wildlife. The park’s area is
about twice the size of Manhattan, and the thinking that started it all
is more than 60 years old.

southportpleasureland.com

This article was sponsored by Universal Attractions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development