I can see the logic in suggesting that Thorpe could be getting 4-5 million visitors in 10 years time, given their location and all. However, I can not see that happening. As has already been mentioned, it was suggested 5 or 6 years back that Thorpe would overtake Alton in visitor numbers by 2010, but they didn't even come close. Also, it isn't just about the visitor numbers, especially if they don't spend any money whilst on the park. Also focusing on one target market will not bring those extra guests in.
In 10 years time, I see Alton Towers as still the major theme park in the Merlin Group, with visitor numbers still averaging around the 2.5 million mark., with the 3 million mark hit on one or 2 occasions. There will be one, possibly two coasters that rival Nemesis & Oblivion. There will be a 3rd Hotel, and the beginnings of a Log Cabin Village. The older flat rides such as Blade, Enterprise, Submission & Ripsaw are now long gone. I would think the gate price would be around £55 walk up price, which would be standard price for all Merlin parks. Parking will be £12
Thorpe will see visitor numbers grow, possibly to around 2-2.2 million, but they still suffer from the infrastructure problems and difficulty in handling large crowds. The Dome will be long gone and there will be a new entrance Plaza. There will no doubt of been plenty of new attractions over the 10 years, but it will be regarded by enthusiasts as the Thrill Seekers seaside resort than isn't by the Sea.
Chessington & Legoland will still be going, but I feel one of them will of been off-loaded to another group. Quite possibly Legoland, even though it was part of the original Merlin Group. Chessington will of had plenty of investment later on in the decade, and may well be well on the way to being the Alton Towers of the South by installing a couple of high profile attractions aimed towards the adults of the family.
Blackpool will still be going. Still in private ownership, but there is the possibility that at some point there had been an attempt by Merlin to buy it, but were thwarted my the Competition Commission, or whatever name it goes by. They will of had plenty of investment early in the decade, but the last few years had seem this dry up, and there had been nothing new since 2017, but they will be enjoying a lot of success with the installation of another huge coaster that dwarfs the Big One. Visitor numbers will recover, though no where near the alleged 6 million plus which was the norm pre Pay one Price. On the gate price would be around £45-£50, and there will no longer be the entrance only pass, with everyone paying the one price, regardless of if they intend to use any attractions. Average parking costs in Blackpool will exceed £15-£20 on premium days.
Drayton should do well, and they will finally take a leaf out of Alton Towers' book and change their recruitment process to ensure they get some decent people employed. They will be second only to Alton Towers in terms of guest satisfaction and appeal to the family market, but they will still like that killer Roller Coaster, or the killer marketing strategy for an average coaster, which will have people visiting in droves.
LWV will still have a cult following. There will, like Blackpool Pleasure Beach, be continued investment early in the decade, but minimal amount leading up to 2020-2021, leaving it still trailing a long way behind it's neighbour, Flamingo Land. FL expanded its holiday park and now has Log Cabins and Tipi's and are planning a hotel. Continued investment see it as a popular choice for holiday makers in the region, but will still be let down by poor staff and capacity issues in peak periods.
Camelot will be long gone, after a few more years of Last ever seasons. Knightmare will eventually make it's way to LWV after a brief spell at Pleasurewood Hills.
All in all, parks will be in quite good shape, and with flying becoming ever more expensive, many more people will choose to stay in the UK, thinking it will be cheaper, but then realising afterwards it still would of been cheaper to holiday abroad. This staycation will continue to provide a boost to the UK parks.
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