A company behind a Shakespeare tourist attraction in Stratford-upon-Avon has been forced to call in the administrators.
Dynamic Attractions Ltd, which runs Shakespearience and the 120-seat Waterside Theatre, said it had suffered after a massive drop in visitor numbers to the Warwickshire town.
The company, which employs 23 staff, says the strength of the pound against the dollar has meant fewer American tourists travelling to the UK this year.
But administrators Kroll insisted the independently-run Waterside, which also includes the Shakespearience tourist attraction, would continue to trade while the situation was reviewed. The theatre opened in December 2004, built in the style of a traditional Elizabethan playhouse and authentically timbered to create an intimate atmosphere.
One employee said: “We are open as usual while they try to work things out, so we hope people don’t think we’re closed.To be honest, it’s not just the credit crunch that has affected us. We flooded last year and we think that has had a knock-on effect as well.”
Other businesses have blamed the credit crunch and disruption caused by the redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre and Bancroft Gardens for discouraging tourists and Stratford Council leader Les Topham warned of even tougher times ahead for Shakespeare’s birthplace.
He said: “This is very sad news for the whole town. We don’t want to see any of our tourist attractions closed down because tourism is obviously so important to the area.
“The credit crunch is affecting everyone in Stratford and you can see it just by looking at the number of people on the streets.
“Some days it doesn’t seem so bad. But I was driving around the town the other day and it did seem much quieter than usual, with fewer foreign visitors than we’d usually have at this time of year.
“We just have to accept that the credit crunch is here to stay and that we’re not the only ones in for a tough time.’’
He added: “We’ve seen mad cow disease, foot and mouth and floods in the last few years, so I’m sure we’ll come through this and maintain Stratford-upon-Avon as the world class tourist attraction it is today.
“The best advice I can give people is that I’ve been in business for over 30 years myself and I’ve seen this all before. We just have to ride it out the best we can.’’