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New Universal theme park could bring ‘£50 billion of economic benefit’ to UK

Simon Calder’s Travel

A proposed Universal Studios theme park in the UK could welcome visitors every single day of the year and bring almost £50 billion to the economy.

A new report commissioned by Universal Destinations and Experiences also claims that the opening would create 20,000 jobs.

The US-based company has purchased the land near Bedford, with plans to build Europe’s largest theme park, as well as a 500-room hotel.

It recently undertook a period of public engagement to decide whether to proceed with the development, with around 1,500 people interviewed and a survey that received more than 6,000 responses.

Universal’s economic impact analysis, which it said was undertaken “in line with HM Treasury guidance on economic appraisal”, states that the “net economic contribution of the potential project for the UK is forecast to be £35.1 billion over the construction period and first 20 years of operation”, while it will also generate up to £14.1 billion in net additional tax returns over the same period.

During the construction period, 20,000 jobs will be created, with a peak of 5,000 workers at the site.

The large parcel of land in Bedfordshire purchased by Universal Destinations & Experiences
The large parcel of land in Bedfordshire purchased by Universal Destinations & Experiences (Supplied)

Once open, it is expected to create 8,000 jobs, “rising over time, consisting of a range of high-quality, multi-disciplinary team member roles with a commitment to pay the living wage”.

The report references evidence from Universal’s other theme parks, which “suggests that for every job supported within our parks, at least 1.5 further jobs may be supported, in our supply chain and across all areas of the economy”.

This could see an additional 20,000 jobs supported by the project.

Millions of international visitors could flock to the UK to visit a Universal attraction, which would also bring economic benefits.

Page Thompson, president of New Ventures of Universal Destinations & Experiences said: “A world-class theme park and resort from Universal has the potential to generate billions in economic benefit for the UK, by creating thousands of high-quality jobs and attracting millions of new visitors to the country.”

The Independent understands that due diligence is continuing.

In December, it was revealed that the parks division of the Universal media empire had bought land covering almost 500 acres in Stewartby, which is around 15…

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