A theme park that has seen its fortunes spiral in recent years has seen an unexpected surge in attendance, with an estimated $25 million brought into the local community through the sales of ticketed events and sponsorships.
The Rio is an attraction that has opened up an opportunity for the Escorts Association of Nova Scotia to be more involved with the tourism sector.
The association says the resort’s attendance has doubled in recent months.
“We’ve been doing well, but we’re still struggling with how to manage our growth,” said Melissa Daugherty, president and CEO of the Escort Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“There are a lot of issues that we need to work through in terms of marketing, how to ensure that the theme park continues to be a safe place for children to play, how we can ensure that it’s safe for everyone and how we will continue to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for guests and staff.”
There are two separate sections of the park, both located in the town of Nova Scotia, and each offers different types of escorts.
The first section has adult-only events, while the second has children-only attractions.
It’s important for the resort to keep the escorts safe and keep the parks safe, Daugher said.
“If we’re going to be successful in the tourism business, we need our guests to feel safe, that’s why we’re here,” she said.
The Escort association has partnered with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which provides support to escorts who have been injured or killed.
Daughers said the association has been working with the police to make sure escorts are safe, and the resort is looking to hire more escorts to provide additional safety measures.
“Our biggest concern is that we don’t have the capacity for a lot more people to go to the event, but also that we can make sure that our staff have enough safety and support,” she explained.
“As we continue to increase our attendance, we are seeing a lot fewer injuries, so we are going to need more people, more staff.”
Escort groups are also being encouraged to attend special events like birthday parties and fundraisers to raise money for the city.
Dacryas says the Escorting Association is also looking to develop a relationship with the Nova Scotia government and local businesses to make the resort more financially stable.
“I think we need a really strong partnership between Escorts and tourism, and a really good relationship with our city and its government to make it successful,” Daugchers said.