Two years after the first quarantine began in Bogotá, On March 20, 2020, different unions and economic sectors are already raising their heads and have great expectations for this 2022.
The entertainment and entertainment industry in Colombiathe one that translates into amusement parks, was one of the most affected, but according to the executive director of the Colombian Association of Attractions and Amusement Parks (Acolap)Angela Maria Diaz It is projected that this year 100% of the sector will return to figures prior to the arrival of covid-19 in the country.
“With the exception that there are already parks that have pre-pandemic figures but they are not the majority of the sector, we hope that in 2022 the trend will continue. We hope that the entire sector reaches that point and in that sense it would be a wonderful end to the year. So we do hope to be able to reach 100% of the parks in Bogotá closing this year with pre-pandemic sales levels, understanding that there are some that have already reached that goal”, the Executive Director of Acolap began by referring to this newspaper.
More specifically, As of May of last year, the activity of this guild stabilized and the response from citizens was excellent. In fact, the second half of last year was very positive, which has allowed that, to date, between 80% and 90% of activity is already fully reactivated.
“We had, since May, very good seasons with months in which behavior was traditionally low, like September and October, and we had them behaving at 100%. This meant that a high percentage of parks achieved sales and visitor levels similar to those of 2019. The December season was a bit unusual due to the impact of the vaccination card requirement, although people quickly it was adapted to the measure but it did have an impact and in Bogotá it was not the season we expected, because many people left in disarray, but it was not bad”, added director Díaz.
No closures, more vaccination
However, the director specified, for this to happen, two things must be maintained: the first, that neither in Bogotá nor in Colombia the closure measures be resumed, an issue against which Director Díaz indicated that the virus is already controlled, it is already endemic“And I really don’t think the national government is going to target new closures of the economy. Without a doubt, our trust is placed in the local leaders maintaining the opening as it is”.
And the second is related to vaccination schedules. In this regard, from Acolap they are convinced that for vaccination levels to rise, the District should extend its obligation to other activities that go beyond parks, bars, restaurants and massive entertainment events.
“The parks affiliated with Acolap have been very judicious in demanding the vaccination card, and we hope that this year they will tell us that rule until when it will last and when it will be extended to other activities so that we can specify the levels of vaccination that are needed and so on. definitively erase that shadow of threat to return to stronger restrictions. In this we must be clear because the parks are no longer betting on reactivation but on recovery. For this, important investments are being made and vaccination is key in this, ”he added.
Measures that harmed
However, and after 22 months from the first closing, How did the pandemic impact this sector? Without a doubt the worst moment for them, consisting of the seven months that began to roll as of March 20, 2020, implied the total closure of the activity, which generated not only the loss of income but also of continuing to assume a series of fixed expenses that companies could not do without.
However, and explaining that both the pandemic and the actions taken to deal with it were critical for its sector, in retrospect the package of measures that was most detrimental to attractions and parks were those implemented by the Bogotá Mayor’s Office at the end of of 2020.
“Nationwide we had losses of more than $40 billion per month in the entire sector and then we had a recovery that started very slowly and was extremely relative for us, if not disastrous around October 2020. We had our hopes up. in December and the mayor decided to close on weekends and imposed a bill and card measure. That for the sector was absolutely harmful because it broke up the family group,” director Díaz pointed out to this medium.
He explained that 80% of the activity that this union carries out takes place during the weekends, and that for the same reason the resolution that prohibited the activity on Saturdays and Sundays was terrible both for them and for the mental health of the women. families who requested the reopening of these spaces.
“We were not only the last to open but we opened halfway. We opened with 20% of the operation in Bogotá, when it was absolutely key to do it on a large scale and not only so that we could recover, but for the families that asked us to open. They were desperate and couldn’t resist anymore. A family with three school-age children, what did they do on weekends? It was a very difficult moment that fortunately we were managing and it must be recognized that Bogotá was one of the few cities that, in the midst of strict closures, allowed open-air parks to work,” said the executive director of Acolap.
Permanent closure and unemployment
With the clarity that the first approach that the sector had to restart activities was halfway through, this fact left the union with a balance in the red, since about 40 establishments nationwide had to close definitively, at least 10 in Bogota, including one of the most iconic companies in entertainment brands: Divercity.
“Forty of 200 affiliates that we have. That was a strong impact because they were parks that definitely did not resist and are no longer going to open. Other companies, although they did not disappear completely, did have to reduce their operations. That mainly refers to parks in shopping malls, which we call Family Entertainment Centers. For them, the analysis that forced them to do the pandemic was to stay only with those operations that give the best results. The impacts have been very strong,” he explained.
In percentage terms, the definitive closures were around 20%, and with them 20% of employability. “We had registered around 60,000 jobs between permanent, temporary and seasonal (in each season the parks double their employment capacity), and we would be talking about 10,000 jobs being permanently lost due to lack of operation at the national level in 2020 ”, he added.
However, and with the projections mentioned above, this union is optimistic about the 11 months ahead and highlighted the help received by the District Institute of Tourism and the Secretariat of Economic Development, both entities that invested significant resources to make visible the sector, inviting Colombians to visit the parks of Bogotá, understanding that they are an engine of tourism.