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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Patrick Daly

Inside theme park frozen in time with no visitors - but staff still turn up every day

There’s every chance any Brits who have holidayed on the Costa del Sol have experienced the thrills of its rides.

But those returning next summer hoping for another go on the rollercoaster at Tivoli World theme park will be sorely disappointed to find it shut-up.

Yet strangely, despite the site being mothballed due to Covid and then money problems, a host of staff continue to turn up every day.

Sounding like something out of a Disney teen movie, the Spanish theme park is probably the best kept abandoned tourist destination in Europe, if not the globe, thanks to the staff's continued maintenance.

Tivoli World opened in 1972 and, over the next five decades, became one of the most popular spots for tourists visiting the resort in southern Spain.

Tivoli World on the Costa del Sol did not reopen for the summer 2021 holiday season (Getty Images)

But, like so many visitor hotspots, it was forced to close in 2020 after pandemic travel restrictions and social distancing measures helped destroy the local tourist economy.

The rides were briefly reopened for two months, but closed again last year when the owners of Tivoli filed for bankruptcy and entered into a legal battle over the money allegedly owed.

Despite the closure, the Daily Star reported that, due to a strange contractual loophole, the staff remained employed.

They are stuck in a doom loop, according to reports, where they are not being paid but they are contractually not allowed to look for alternative employment.

The workers, rather than languish at home, decided to keep turning up to the park every day, making sure the rides and facilities do not fall into a state of disrepair.

The attractions are locked to visitors (Getty Images)

Their constant maintenance has kept the abandoned adventure park in Benalmadena — situated about 13 miles from Malaga — in stunning condition, despite its owners being chased for around £3.5 million.

According to local media, the phantom staff went under the radar until three locals attempted to break in and steal equipment from the disused site and found the theme park still occupied.

Juan Ramon Delgado, president of the Salvemos Tivoli group, set out the difficult decision that the staff find themselves in.

“The attractions are still there, many metres of electric cable, as well as machinery in the bars and ice cream parlours," said Mr Delgado.

“Above all, they are looking for aluminium and copper.

There have been demonstrations calling for Tivoli World to reopen (Getty Images)

“We haven't been paid for 10 months, but we can't work on anything else either because we're discharged.

“The situation is unsustainable.”

In total, 87 members of staff are still attending the site on a daily basis, hoping that it will reopen, The Star reported.

They have been asking the courts to either help reopen the site, or to sort their contract issues out.

There have even been demonstrations calling for the gates to be unlocked.

The remaining staff insist that rides like the so-called Freefall Tower and Ferris wheel would be ready to resume almost at once should paying patrons be allowed back in.

Mr Delgado, who goes to the site every week, Monday to Friday, said: “Despite the fact that we have no income, we do what we can to the best of our ability.”

Local lawmaker Guzman Ahumada said “excuses are running out” for the owners to not reopen the site, as it is “clearly” able to make money.

Tivoli World theme park pictured before its closure (Tivoliworld)

He said: “The argument that it was not economically viable has been dismantled.”

In March this year, the Benalmadena Town Council said: “The strategy and position of this government team are aligned with that of the unions and company committee, all working together to achieve the reopening of the park.

“We are going to continue to protect Tivoli because we believe that it is vital for tourism and the economy of the Costa del Sol, and there is no other way to do it than to reopen the park.”

The inside of the site remains in perfect condition, with many of its iconic rides in full working order ready for whenever the owners – or the courts – decide to sell tickets once again.

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