Centre Parcs boss hints at sixth UK site

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An expanding UK leisure market has led to the boss of Centre Parcs revealing plans for a possible sixth UK site.

 

Martin Dalby, CEO of the leisure giant,admitted he had made a U-turn in his mind after previously saying he did not expect to open another park in Britain following the launch of Bedfordshire’s Woburn Forest in June 2014.

“When we opened Woburn I probably said we’ll never have another UK Center Parcs but actually I’ve changed my mind,” said Dalby.

“The leisure market in the UK has continued to expand. There’s clearly over-demand for a product like our’s so there’s probably room for one more somewhere.”

Centre Parcs is currently building a £210m park at Longford Forest, a 400-acre site in Ireland which Dalby said was the company’s main focus at the moment. The project is currently halfway through and is due to be completed next summer.

Dalby also explained why he finds it complicated to have a corporate opinion on contentious matters such as Brexit: “I’ve got 2.2 million customers,”said Dalby.

“If I said we’re remainers,half of them would have been happy and half wouldn’t like me. If I said we’re Brexiteers, it would have been the other way around.

“When you have a customer-facing business like Center Parcs,you can’t start taking positions on things that are nothing to do with you so we don’t do that.”

The Nottingham-based firm is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its arrival in the UK at Sherwood Forest.

Brendan Moffett, chief executive of marketing NG, which operates tourism body Visit Nottinghamshire, said the economic impact of Center Parcs (in the region of circa £20m) is hugely significant.

He added that the company’s “re-investment into upgrading and creating new facilities will be a major contributor as we look to grow our already vibrant visitor economy”.


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