Despite UK local authorities rarely appreciating the reality and benefit of the amusement industry, the collaboration between the Welsh Government and Tir Prince demonstrates just how beneficial an understanding authority can be. The park’s chief Adam Williams explains how.
With local authority indifference a key area of concern for many seaside operators, a lack of year-round support can see some amusement arcades across the UK face difficult decisions during the winter season.
However, Adam Williams, MD of Llandudno amusement complex Tir Prince, knows all too well the value of engaging positively with government officials to see the industry thrive day to day, and for the foreseeable future.
“I work very closely with Welsh Government on all sorts of areas to do with winter attractions, putting events on, and I’m part of the committee with Welsh Government in this area to expand the season,” said Williams.
“As far as local government goes they’re definitely favourable to what we do.”
And so they should be. Part of the work Tir Prince is engaged with to develop local authority support is designed to benefit the whole industry long term, with Williams collaborating with officials and colleagues to increase the quality and availability of hospitality education.
“I feel the key to that is putting courses on in colleges to make kids understand we are a professional industry. It’s not a stop-gap,” Williams explained.
“I’m trying to open that gap up in this area to help with employment, as employment has been very difficult over the past 12 months at least, in all sorts of areas including engineers, floor walkers, managers, in all aspects.”
“I think it could be to do with Brexit,the pound drop- ping it’s value, where foreign workers send money home now they’re not sending as much as they were.”
Williams has thought hard on this subject; he’s had to in order to push the hospitality message across to young British people who are only just beginning to see the full prospects of working in this industry. Taking on the challenge of establishing “the same work ethic” within the home-based millennial labour force, Williams is clear that the focus on increasing education could be key to seeing the industry flourish in the future.
And this prosperity and development is the driving motivation for the Tir Prince chief, hence several new investments on the agenda.
“We’re always looking to expand,” said Williams. “We’ve invested in more £500 machines a head of April, we’re upgrading some of the over 18s premises with more VIP machines,and several new Coconut Shys from Instance Automatics.”
“We trialled pushers on 10p last year using the Big Dog pushers, as I feel they have more of an adult appearance to them.We tried some last year on 10p and they seemed to be very good,so we’re going to move a few more onto 10p, hopefully we can get a bit more value out of them.”
The continued focus on new engaging machines demonstrates Tir Prince’s aim to always put the customer first, something which is still overlooked by the legislative perception of amusements.
“We’re short term gambling exercise, rather than online. The idea of taking gambling home with you, that’s the evil side, the secrecy of online gambling on the phone. It’s very much a drug.”
“We’re hard done-by by government in that respect, we’re treated the same,a lot of red tape to get through, when we shouldn’t be classed in the same environment. I don’t want to belittle our industry, but it should be lobbied that we are a separate category ”
However, Williams added that the recent change of focus in the amusement sector could well be the way forward.
“Since we’ve been into redemption massively,our industry has no longer been looked at as a gaming industry, so I think that’s a good thing.”
“Looking to 2019,as long as the weather is like last year, I think it’s going to be a good year.”