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Futuroscope’s major projects to become essential

The Poitiers park, which received the prize for the best attraction in the world, is investing 300 million euros for an unprecedented expansion plan.

By Thibaut Deleaz

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VS’is the most prestigious award for theme parks. A Thea Award for “remarkable achievement” was awarded to Futuroscope for its 2022 novelty, Tornado Hunters. A reward for best attraction in the world awarded on November 15 by representatives of the profession at the IAAPA show (the international association of amusement parks), in Orlando, Florida. Rodolphe Bouin, the president of the executive board of the Poitiers park, still has a smile from ear to ear: “There were 300 candidates in front of us, including big-budget behemoths like Universal or Disney! The prize also has “a particular symbolism, because the attraction was imagined and created from scratch by our teams”.

Excellent news for the amusement park focused on new technologies, as it has just launched an ambitious ten-year development plan. An investment of 300 million euros recorded in 2020, despite the pandemic, between Compagnie des Alpes, majority shareholder, and the department of Vienne, owner and initiator of the park opened in 1987. Objective: to boost attendance and make the site a holiday destination in its own right.

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Take risks

To accommodate more visitors, you first need more attractions. In 2020, Futuroscope inaugurated its first roller coaster, Objectif Mars. A “disruptive” choice, blows the boss, for a park rather oriented towards simulators and screens. And above all a high-capacity machine, capable of absorbing more than 1,000 people per hour. No question, however, of buying rides from the catalogue: to stay at the forefront, the Poitevin park wants unique experiences.

It was therefore its teams who themselves imagined, in-house, the Tornado Hunters attraction by assembling several technologies. The heart of the show, a rotating and dynamic 120-seat platform, was born from a prototype spotted in Dubai. Surrounded by LED screens in a room equipped with 41 fans to blow gusts of wind, and here are the visitors embarked on a homemade tornado simulator. “Some people told us that we were taking too many risks in mixing so many elements, because at the slightest grain of sand, nothing works, recalls Rodolphe Bouin. But to reach this level of excellence, you have to take risks. »

The difficulty for Futuroscope is to develop its offer of attractions, in particular by offering more sensations, popular with the public who frequent the parks, but without ever losing its fun park DNA. “It would be a shame if we all looked alike…” Two other major attractions are planned: an aquatic experience in 2025 and a project not yet defined in 2027. Without forgetting, at the same time, to renew the existing one to maintain it to the best.

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Two hotels and a water park

At the same time, the park is carrying out a gigantic extension project on its car park. In line with its competitors, it is beginning its “resortization” to offer a complete entertainment offer to visitors, whom it wants to bring from further afield and for longer – half are already coming for stays of at least two days. . Station Cosmos, a themed hotel with spaceship rooms, opened this summer. A second will arrive in 2023, before the Aquascope, an indoor water park, in 2024.

So far, the strategy seems to be working. Objectif Mars and Chasseurs de tornadoes are already in the top 3 of visitors’ favorite attractions and Station Cosmos posted an occupancy rate of 97% in July-August. Fourth French park behind Disneyland Paris, Parc Astérix and Puy du Fou with 1.9 million visitors in 2019, Futuroscope is aiming for 25% to 30% more attendance by 2025 compared to the pre-Covid period. . Rodolphe Bouin is delighted: “To see the first stone of this development plan rewarded is very encouraging! »

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