Horrorland theme park draws thousands to central Catalonia
Over 20,000 visitors to descend on rural Berguedà for opening of new leisure project devoted to horror
In the autumn months, tourism in the Berguedà county in the middle of Catalonia is largely dependent on mushroom hunters. However, this weekend there is hardly a room to be had. The reason is the opening on Wednesday of a new theme park called Horrorland.
Located in Cercs, Horrorland is the "first scream park in southern Europe," and the more than 22,000 entrance tickets for the horror theme park have sold out. Meanwhile, over 30 media outlets, including Reuters and CNN, will be there to cover the opening.
Not even the organizers expected such a positive response to the new initiative, and the mayor of Cercs, Jesús Calderer, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that what makes the project extraordinary is how it has grown so rapidly, and how the locals have welcomed it.
Boost for the local economy
Above all, the new theme park has provided a huge boost to the local economy. Hotel owners were the first to notice when visitors from all over Europe began reserving rooms at a time of year when it is usually difficult to drum up business.
"At the beginning it surprised us that so many people were asking for these specific dates, and then later we understood why," says the manager of the hostel in Berga, Gemma Ribolleda.
The local restaurants have also embraced the new park, with many offering horror-themed dishes. The Cal Travé restaurant in Berga, for example, will offer surprise dishes to diners with a Horrorland ticket, while they have also had their menu translated into five languages.
170 jobs created
What's more, the theme park, which is located in a former power station in Cercs, has created some 170 jobs, more than half of which have been covered by local people.
Yet, Calderer says there are still two challenges. One is how to provide parking for so many people, as the park is located on a busy main road that goes to Barcelona. The other is how to get the people who come to the park to stay and visit other places in Berguedà. "It's clear that, right now, the county is not ready to absorb all these people," said the mayor.