Georges Santa-Maria, arrived in the area in the mid 1980s. An entrepreneur, aiming to boost tourism in the area, his businesses have flourished and he now faces another challenge. His latest venture is the theme park Terra Mitica, which has rented for the next 10 years. Georges is optimistic about this new venture and is not daunted by the task. He has complete trust in those around him and believes that with courage and the strength of his team it will enable him to move forward and prosper.
It has been 25 years since you opened the most important water park in Europe. What are your views of that period?
It has been very positive. Since we opened Aqualandia, we have managed to achieve our estimated client numbers year on year, so we can’t complain. Competition plays an important part differentiating one product from another and we have maintained our status in the area.
Will you be making any changes or adding anything to the park?
There are no planned changes. What we do every year is make small improvements. Last year, for example we added the Jacuzzi, which we have enlarged due to its popularity. Next year we plan to improve the quality for our clients.
Has the difficult financial situation in Europe affected your businesses?
I could say that the financial crisis has not existed for Aqualandia and Mundomar. Other businesses have been greatly affected. We have benefited from the crisis in a manner of speaking; people still need to get away for a holiday, but somewhere not to far from home and without spending large amounts of money. Benidorm has benefited from this too. People have been unable to holiday outside Spain and have decided to take a short break here.
Are you saying that this precarious situation has turned into an opportunity?
Other countries have experienced the same phenomena. In France, Disney or Futureoscope have both registered an increase in their number of visitors. It is estimated that people spend about 3% on their breaks but the number of visitors has increased. As I mentioned before people will still take a holiday even if they don’t go far afield.
When did you become interested in taking over the running of Terra Mitica?
Negotiations began about a year ago in June 2009. We heard that there was a possibility that the Theme Park might be put up for sale, we contacted the owners and the negotiations started from there.
Terra Mitica has not made a profit since it opened 10 years ago. Are you confident you can change this?
Yes although I admit it is easier to start a project from scratch than to take over one already established.
What is your policy?
I have a lot of confidence in my staff and those closest to me and I often consult them when I am in doubt. I consider them to be more qualified than myself in certain aspects and I have learnt an awful lot from them. I never stop learning from them. Life is a great school.
What are your intentions and your goals.
Since I decided to take over Terra Mitica my goal is to turn the park around and refloat it. In the long and short term that means growth. That in turn would mean an increase in the staff and illustrate the idea that I have for the park.
You are very optimistic, when do you hope to see the benefits
From the studies we have carried out, we hope to see some positive results in approximately one year.