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The Big Debate: Will there ever be a Universal Studios theme park in Western Europe?Submitted by Natalie Sim on Saturday, May 19, 2012 09:36
In this week's poll, we ask if you think there is still scope for a Universal Studios theme park to be built in Western Europe?
With news this week that Universal is opening a version of the hugely popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan, it's clear that the company is still focused on expanding and developing. Universal Studios Singapore opened as recently as 2010, plans are in the works for an indoor theme park in Russia, and Potter-themed expansions are on the way at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida.
But is Universal missing a trick in Western Europe? There's no doubt that there is a massive theme park market in the region, but the company has consistently overlooked it as a source of revenue growth in recent years - even going so far as to exit its Port Aventura joint venture in 2004. Granted, there's already significant competition from other parks (including Disneyland Paris), but Universal has proven that its brand is big enough to effectively compete with anyone.
Is the weather to blame? This is one aspect which may have detered Universal's bosses from re-entering the European market, but Disneyland Paris has proven that year-round operation is possible, even in drizzly Paris.
Could it be a fear that a European Universal Studios would negatively hit attendance at the Universal Orlando Resort? Certainly, travelling a short distance across Europe may prove more appealing to the hordes of tourists that jet across the Atlantic to Florida each year, but Disney has effectively maintained interest in both its Paris and Florida resorts.
And now, of course, there's the seemingly neverending series of financial problems that threaten to drag Western Europe's economies even deeper into economic hardship. Has any hope for European theme park fans of seeing a Universal theme park gone for good, dooming them to cast envious glances at fast-growing nations in Asia and South America instead?
So, will there ever be a Universal Studios park in Western Europe? Let us know what you think by voting in our poll below.
Will there ever be a Universal Studios theme park in Western Europe?
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