Durham manufacturer and supplier World of Rides is back-up and riding high despite the enduring pandemic – but its general manager David Robinson is only too aware of the toll that lockdown has taken on his customers.
General manager David Robinson of kiddie ride and Go-Kart manufacturer World of Rides has spoken publicly for the first time as to the impact Covid-19 has had on the amusements and attractions industry, telling Coinslot that the economic blow dealt by the virus to many of his customers can be likened “to another World War.”
The Durham-based manufacturer and supplier continues to work remotely wherever possible, with factory personnel adhering to staggered shifts in order to minimise close contact. These measures have kept World of Rides functioning more-or-less at optimum capacity, but Robinson has acknowledged that much of his public-facing customer-base haven’t been as fortunate.
“Speaking with some of the leading operators in our industry, it is quickly apparent that unfortunately a few have already suffered so much already that they will be lucky to survive at all through until next year, and have already lost some very good and loyal staff in the process,” he told Coinslot. “This dreadful pandemic can be likened to another World War, as casualties have been many and are still growing, and many good businesses have been decimated through no fault of their own.”
Despite these hardships however, Robinson senses some light at the end of the tunnel: having been encouraged not only by how quickly his customers have picked up from where they left off since the re-opening earlier this month, but also by how promptly they are paying their bills.
But the change has required tenacity as Robinson explained: “Like most other businesses in our industry we have had to change our way of working quite drastically. However, all our machine and spare parts orders are still being sent out on time… but it is just taking a little more hard work and ingenuity on our part to do so!”
And technology too has kept the business momentum – and product development process – going. “With the use of new communications technology, we’ve been able to keep in close contact to finalise some designs for new rides and attractions that were already in the pipeline pre-lockdown,” he added.
“Once we have undertaken some site testing during the course of this season, we will be able to release them to all our customers for use either during the remaining part of this season or next!”
And what of the future of the operators themselves? Robinson was clear, adding his voice to the throng of those calling for Westminster to step up support of tourism-reliant enterprise.
“Our customers are our lifeblood, and the government must quickly do more to help them all to survive and regrow again,” he told us. “They need to give the seaside sector in particular much more assistance with further wages grants, VAT and tax reductions and rating valuation cuts…they only have a very short season remaining to makeup their losses.”