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Catalan theme park PortAventura opens its doors expecting to host 4 million visitors this season

The Catalan theme park PortAventura opened its doors last weekend for the new season. Despite the crisis, in 2011 the park registered 16% more visitors than in 2010, reaching 3.7 million in total. The park’s CEO, Fernando Aldecoa, has said they expect to reach 4 million visitors this season, which ends just after Halloween. This season, €25 million has been invested in a new rollercoaster called ‘Shambhala’, which will be the tallest in Europe and will reach speeds of 134 km per hour during a fall of 78 metres.

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02 April 2012 11:25 PM

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ACN / Laura Quintana

Tarragona (ACN).- The theme park PortAventura, unveiled in 1995 in the Catalan tourist area of the Costa Daurada, opened its doors this last weekend for the new season, just before the Easter school holidays. Despite the difficult economic situation, the park increased visitor numbers last year by 16% compared to 2010. This means 500,000 more people attended, reaching 3.7 million visitors. The park\u2019s CEO, Fernando Aldecoa, expects this trend to continue this year, achieving 4 million visitors in 2012. To reach this number, the park has invested \u20AC25 million to build a new roller coaster called \u2018Shambhala\u2019, which is located in the China area and is inspired by the Himalaya mountains. This rollercoaster will be unveiled on May. The rest of the annual investment, \u20AC5 million, has been used to build the area \u2018Kids&Cars\u2019 where children can have driving lessons with electric cars; renew 80% of its shows (including 5 new shows); and on a build a carpark for 100 motor homes. These changes complement the existing amusement offer at the park, which in the last few years opened two new areas: the waterpark and the children area \u2018Sésamo Aventura\u2019, based on Sesame Street.


The Costa Daurada was usually known by tourists for its beaches, culture (Roman remains, wine, Miró, etc.) and sport activities (golf, water sports, and cycling). However, in 1995 a new tourist attraction began: the theme park PortAventura, which over the years has consolidated itself as a leisure attraction for both national and foreigner visitors. This Catalan amusement park is located one hour from Barcelona by car. It is divided into six themed areas: Mediterranean, Polynesia, China, Far West, Mexico and SésamoAventura; and it has expanded its offerings since 1995. Now, the park has four large hotels inspired by the Wild West or the Caribbean, amongst others; and it has a waterpark located between the park and the beach.

The Catalan theme park started the new season on Friday, March 30th, just one week before Easter. The season will end just after Halloween. Two hotels are already running and they are close to reaching 100% occupancy for the next holidays. The CEO of PortAventura, Fernando Aldecoa, explained that they are positive about the new season and expect to reach 4 million visitors.

To achieve this visitor figure, the park has invested \u20AC30. Most of the investment has been used to build a new rollercoaster called \u2018Shambhala\u2019. It has been set in the area of China, where the \u2018Dragon Khan\u2019 rollercoaster is located, one of the park symbols. Inspired by the Himalayas, the \u2018Shambhala\u2019 will be the highest roller coaster in Europe: it will achieve a speed of 134 km per hour during a fall of 78 metres; and will create an effect called \u2018air time\u2019. The new rollercoaster has been designed to cross the \u2018Dragon Khan\u2019 several times.

In the same area of \u2018Shambhala\u2019 (China), \u2018Kids&Cars\u2019 has been built where children from 5 to 12 years old can have driving lessons with electric cars. The circuit of 1,400 m² has all the details of real roads including traffic lights and all kind of signals.

The rest of the investment has been used to renew 500 rooms of the hotel located in the Mediterranean area, and 80% of the shows, which include 5 new ones. One of the new shows is a musical based on the 70\u2019s, 80\u2019s and 90\u2019s.

A carpark for motorhomes

This year, PortAventura has inaugurated a carpark for 100 motorhomes. It is located close to the Gold River Hotel and allows for easy access to the theme park. The offered services include water taps, drains for dirty water, showers, and toilets. Users have to book online before their arrival.

France and United Kingdom bring the highest number of tourists

The number of visitors during 2011 increased by 16%, achieving 3.7 million of visitors (500,000 more than 2010). According to the managers of the park, this increase has been possible because 70% of the visitors are families who are visiting the new children area \u2018Sésamo Aventura\u2019.

The profile of the visitors has increased in some cases such as the Catalan (33%) or the Russian (30%). Even though, the French and English visitors are still the main foreign visitors of the Catalan theme park, located on the municipalities of Salou and Vila-Seca, near Tarragona. Within Spain, the visitors from Andalusia and Madrid have increased by 38% and 17% respectively.

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  • The roller coaster devoted to Bacchus, in the Mediterranean area (by. A. Mayor)

  • The driving school for children between 5 and 12 (by A. Mayor)

  • The Tutuki Splash attraction in the Polynesia area (by A. Mayor)

  • The Dragon Khan and the new roller coaester Shmabhala (by R. Segura)

  • The entrance to the Sesame Street area, for small children (by A. Mayor)

  • The roller coaster devoted to Bacchus, in the Mediterranean area (by. A. Mayor)
  • The driving school for children between 5 and 12 (by A. Mayor)
  • The Tutuki Splash attraction in the Polynesia area (by A. Mayor)
  • The Dragon Khan and the new roller coaester Shmabhala (by R. Segura)
  • The entrance to the Sesame Street area, for small children (by A. Mayor)