People
Håkon Lund

It’s really important for the industry to be at the forefront of change


Norway’s largest theme park, Kongeparken, is investing heavily in solar energy, as it looks to power the park’s operations using more sustainable resources. According to Lund Gruppen owner Håkon Lund, the park plans to source a third of its energy needs from solar power by the end of 2023.

As part of its energy strategy, Kongeparken has installed 1,100 solar panels on its land, which are being used to generate power for the park’s operations, from popcorn stands and concessions to large rides.

The park’s Zierer Wave Swinger carousel, for example, will be operated entirely on solar energy – the first of its kind in the world.

“We’re very excited to unveil our Zierer Wave Swinger, which will operate on 100 per cent solar energy,” Lund said, when they announced the project, adding that the park will also focus on promoting the need for more sustainable energy strategies.

“To raise awareness about the importance of green energy in tourism, Kongeparken will establish an information centre showcasing the industry’s transition towards eco-friendly practices,” he said.

“This initiative will inform and inspire our guests to support sustainable travel.

First opened in 1986, Kongeparken was acquired by the Lund family in 1997. A family attraction targeting children aged three to 12 years, the park has more than 50 rides.

Here we speak to Lund about lobbying government, supporting small businesses, and the unexpected effect the pandemic had on the company’s approach to sustainability.

Why did you decide to invest in solar power?
For a long time, electricity has been dirt cheap in Norway. Last year, electricity prices skyrocketed. Instead of waiting to see how this would affect us as a company, we said, Okay, if we’re serious about our environmental footprint, we must also be serious about how we create energy. Even though we already have 100 per cent sustainable energy in Norway (from hydropower), we realised we could increase the production of sustainable energy and help the nation to export more green energy, and that would affect power prices for everyone.

Real estate is a big part of operating a theme park or attraction. We saw that we could activate our real estate in ways we hadn’t done before, utilising spaces that wouldn’t normally be used by putting solar panels on them. We didn’t get any support from the Norwegian government – there were no subsidies whatsoever – but as a family company that’s been in business since 1895, we saw this as a long-term play. We now think our payback time will be around eight to 10 years for the solar panels we’ve installed.

How is your approach to sustainability evolving?
I can divide our approach to sustainability into two; before COVID-19 and after COVID-19.

Before the pandemic it was all about recycling and energy consumption. During the pandemic, we came to the realisation that we could dramatically change our carbon footprint and create a win-win situation for us as owners and operators, for our guests and for the environment.

In Scandinavia we have very short seasons – we invest a lot for 100 days of operation. We’ve always worked on extending the season with Christmas and Halloween events, but during the pandemic it became evident that we had guests who wanted to spend longer in the park and experience more as part of their trip.

For us it became a new thing – encouraging guests to stay with us not for one day, but for two or three days. That has been a huge success – feedback has improved immensely and we’ve found that guests are happier staying longer, paying more and experiencing more. It helps reduce our environmental footprint – guests are just making one journey, rather than coming for multiple short trips. Also it really helps us as operators – if guests spend longer with us, it means more optimal and longer use of our venue and all of our infrastructure – restaurants, staff and so on – that would otherwise have been used for just part of the day. That was a real awakening for us.

What changes does the industry need to make?
It’s really important for IAAPA and the industry to ensure we’re not just reacting to new regulations, but that we’re at the forefront of change.

A good example is the EU regulation around using disposable cups and containers. That’s a huge challenge for us – attractions companies are big consumers of disposables. As an industry we need to help each other. Instead of scrambling to see what new regulation means, the bigger parks need to take time to publish White Papers with best practices, and we need to work closely with the EU and the UN on our sustainability goals.

Can you tell us about your lobbying work?
We’re lobbying the Norwegian government for support on behalf of the tourism industry, particularly for small tourism attractions. Take solar power as an example. In Norway, tourist attractions are in full swing during the summer, at a time when we have sun for 24 hours a day. It’s ironic that these companies have no support or grants for solar power, while farmers do. We’d like that to change.

We’re looking at how we can we support smaller operators to improve their sustainability.

Lund Gruppen’s Skånes Djurpark Resort in Sweden Credit: Photo: Lund Gruppen
Solar is used to generate power for the park’s operations Credit: Photo: Lund Gruppen
Guests are encouraged to come for longer stays, says Lund Credit: Photo: Lund Gruppen
Credit: Photo: Lund Gruppen
Lund Gruppen parks are visited by more than 2.5 million guests per year Credit: Photo: Lund Gruppen
1,100 solar panels have been installed on Kongeparken land Credit: Photo: Lund Gruppen
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2023 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Håkon Lund

People

Håkon Lund


It’s really important for the industry to be at the forefront of change

Lund is the great grandson of Lund Gruppen’s founder Photo: Lund Gruppen
Lund Gruppen’s Skånes Djurpark Resort in Sweden Photo: Lund Gruppen
Solar is used to generate power for the park’s operations Photo: Lund Gruppen
Guests are encouraged to come for longer stays, says Lund Photo: Lund Gruppen
Photo: Lund Gruppen
Lund Gruppen parks are visited by more than 2.5 million guests per year Photo: Lund Gruppen
1,100 solar panels have been installed on Kongeparken land Photo: Lund Gruppen

Norway’s largest theme park, Kongeparken, is investing heavily in solar energy, as it looks to power the park’s operations using more sustainable resources. According to Lund Gruppen owner Håkon Lund, the park plans to source a third of its energy needs from solar power by the end of 2023.

As part of its energy strategy, Kongeparken has installed 1,100 solar panels on its land, which are being used to generate power for the park’s operations, from popcorn stands and concessions to large rides.

The park’s Zierer Wave Swinger carousel, for example, will be operated entirely on solar energy – the first of its kind in the world.

“We’re very excited to unveil our Zierer Wave Swinger, which will operate on 100 per cent solar energy,” Lund said, when they announced the project, adding that the park will also focus on promoting the need for more sustainable energy strategies.

“To raise awareness about the importance of green energy in tourism, Kongeparken will establish an information centre showcasing the industry’s transition towards eco-friendly practices,” he said.

“This initiative will inform and inspire our guests to support sustainable travel.

First opened in 1986, Kongeparken was acquired by the Lund family in 1997. A family attraction targeting children aged three to 12 years, the park has more than 50 rides.

Here we speak to Lund about lobbying government, supporting small businesses, and the unexpected effect the pandemic had on the company’s approach to sustainability.

Why did you decide to invest in solar power?
For a long time, electricity has been dirt cheap in Norway. Last year, electricity prices skyrocketed. Instead of waiting to see how this would affect us as a company, we said, Okay, if we’re serious about our environmental footprint, we must also be serious about how we create energy. Even though we already have 100 per cent sustainable energy in Norway (from hydropower), we realised we could increase the production of sustainable energy and help the nation to export more green energy, and that would affect power prices for everyone.

Real estate is a big part of operating a theme park or attraction. We saw that we could activate our real estate in ways we hadn’t done before, utilising spaces that wouldn’t normally be used by putting solar panels on them. We didn’t get any support from the Norwegian government – there were no subsidies whatsoever – but as a family company that’s been in business since 1895, we saw this as a long-term play. We now think our payback time will be around eight to 10 years for the solar panels we’ve installed.

How is your approach to sustainability evolving?
I can divide our approach to sustainability into two; before COVID-19 and after COVID-19.

Before the pandemic it was all about recycling and energy consumption. During the pandemic, we came to the realisation that we could dramatically change our carbon footprint and create a win-win situation for us as owners and operators, for our guests and for the environment.

In Scandinavia we have very short seasons – we invest a lot for 100 days of operation. We’ve always worked on extending the season with Christmas and Halloween events, but during the pandemic it became evident that we had guests who wanted to spend longer in the park and experience more as part of their trip.

For us it became a new thing – encouraging guests to stay with us not for one day, but for two or three days. That has been a huge success – feedback has improved immensely and we’ve found that guests are happier staying longer, paying more and experiencing more. It helps reduce our environmental footprint – guests are just making one journey, rather than coming for multiple short trips. Also it really helps us as operators – if guests spend longer with us, it means more optimal and longer use of our venue and all of our infrastructure – restaurants, staff and so on – that would otherwise have been used for just part of the day. That was a real awakening for us.

What changes does the industry need to make?
It’s really important for IAAPA and the industry to ensure we’re not just reacting to new regulations, but that we’re at the forefront of change.

A good example is the EU regulation around using disposable cups and containers. That’s a huge challenge for us – attractions companies are big consumers of disposables. As an industry we need to help each other. Instead of scrambling to see what new regulation means, the bigger parks need to take time to publish White Papers with best practices, and we need to work closely with the EU and the UN on our sustainability goals.

Can you tell us about your lobbying work?
We’re lobbying the Norwegian government for support on behalf of the tourism industry, particularly for small tourism attractions. Take solar power as an example. In Norway, tourist attractions are in full swing during the summer, at a time when we have sun for 24 hours a day. It’s ironic that these companies have no support or grants for solar power, while farmers do. We’d like that to change.

We’re looking at how we can we support smaller operators to improve their sustainability.


Originally published in Attractions Management 2023 issue 3

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