For Aquamagis, the prospect of the A45 being closed for several months meant a loss of half a million euros. Since it is clear that it could take years until traffic flows again over a new bridge, the bath expects far greater losses. But the exact amount is still difficult to quantify.
Plettenberg – "We had expected only three months, if it becomes now three, five or seven years, hits us in marrow and leg , explains Aquamagis managing director Dr. Uwe Allmann. In December – the closure of the Rahmedetal bridge was still fresh – it was still assumed that the bridge could be strengthened and after three months possibly be opened again for passenger cars. Allmann estimated the loss in these three months at about half a million euros. In the meantime, the situation is completely different: The bridge remains closed, and it will be years before it is demolished and a new one built.
A million euro loss per year
That’s why Allmann now assumes losses in the seven-digit range. A million euros a year could be it, maybe more. "We are actually only now in the process of quantifying the effects. To calculate the exact impact in euros, however, we would need another vacation." Because these are, according to experience, very high turnover. How many visitors are missing would then give a better indication of the amount of losses to be expected.
"We’re trying to work through the whole field of impacts, but it’s very tedious," Allmann says. The main difficulty is to clearly separate the two reasons for the decline in visitors. "We can’t calculate exactly what goes back to Omikron and what goes back to the bridge closure."So what exactly is the reason that fewer visitors come to the baths, no one stays overnight in the cottage village, no guests from Holland book the resort?. But Allmann finds it difficult to say whether the loss of visitors is due to Corona or the Omikron variant and the bridge closure in a ratio of fifty-fifty, 60 to 40 or 70 to 30. In the end, however, it doesn’t change much of a fundamental statement: "There’s no denying that it’s dramatic."
The weekends are still quite good in terms of visitors, because then there is also less truck traffic on the road. But there are also drop-offs on Saturdays and Sundays, which Allmann estimates are equally attributable to Omikron and the bridge.
"During the week, when you need an hour and fifteen minutes from Hagen and an hour and a half from Dortmund, the flow of visitors tends to zero," says Allmann. "It’s sad when there are then more guests at the test center in the Aquamagis parking lot than in the baths."
For the spa, which opened in 2003, the closed A45 bridge – in addition to the impact of two Corona years – is a blow to the bottom line. "I didn’t imagine that we would be hit so hard," says Allmann. "This shakes us to the core so close to our 20th anniversary."
There should be no quick fixes
And because the issue is so big and dramatic, he said, intensive thought is also being given to how to respond, together with politicians. Allmann reiterates that they are still at the very beginning of analyzing and interpreting the effects and are looking at different scenarios: "We can’t make any snap judgments." Because there is no one recipe for greatly reducing costs.
During the week, the number of visitors tends toward zero. It’s sad when there are then more guests at the test center in the Aquamagis parking lot than in the baths.
Dr. Uwe Allmann, managing director of Aquamagis
"I can’t just cool the water down a few degrees, close a few doors and put 20 people on short time," says the Aquamagis boss: "I’m happy if I have enough employees at all at the moment who aren’t ill."In addition, one has to fulfill the municipal obligation for the school and club swimming, which is quite perceived.
What the bridge closure with all its implications means for the entire business model of Aquamagis can only be estimated when it is clear how high the actual losses will be. And among the unanswered questions is whether there will be more Corona aid or other aid payments.
Kamikaze slide on the brink of collapse
First everything will be put to the test. "For example, what can you do with vacation homes if they’re only at ten percent occupancy instead of 40 percent?" says Allmann, citing an example. Planned investments, such as the new "kamikaze" slide planned for 2023 at a cost of 2.2 million euros, would then also be up for grabs. Ultimately it is a decision of the policy, but this can decide just as well for as against the slide.
"You could say: Now more than ever, so that we offer something to the customers with the new slide and also someone from Dortmund goes to Aquamagis for it. Or they say we have to postpone it because we can’t afford it now," explains Allmann. "Both sides are comprehensible."
The Aquamagis boss himself, however, is more inclined to "now more than ever", i.e. to invest in an attraction like the new slide despite difficult times. Because he hopes that customers who currently forego a visit to the baths because of the traffic situation will at some point also take on a longer trip. The new kamikaze slide would be a good argument for a visit then.