Merlin unveils C&I drive for London Aquarium

Merlin Entertainments Group has unveiled a refurbishment and marketing plan for the London Aquarium as it looks to increase event business at the venue by almost 50%. The announcement follows the news that Merlin, whose portfolio the likes of Madame Tussauds and the London Eye, had acquired the central London landmark. Merlin’s events general manager Michael Aldridge told C&IT the renewed C&I push would kick off with a £5m, two-stage refurbishment programme, starting immediately. “At the moment the aquarium looks tired and we are already addressing the most pressing elements,” Aldridge said. “In January we will then do a full refurbishment and relaunch the venue in February.” Aldridge added that Merlin “would follow the Madame Tussauds model, by making events a key part of the aquarium’s offer”. This will include a detailed overhaul of lighting and AV and the installation of a kitchen for the first time. The aquarium is scheduled to run around 70 events this year and Aldridge said he envisages that rising to 100 in 2009. Once the refurbishment is complete, a series of events aimed at buyers will be held at the venue and visitor tickets will also be sent to buyers in order to allow them to experience the venue privately. Merlin will also be creating pre- and post-event packages in conjunction with the London Eye.

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