Lourinhã Dinosaurs Park, which has received 338 thousand visitors since it opened nine months ago, is boosting the restoration of the county, according to the businessmen, but brought breakages to the former museum.
Five minutes from Dino Parque, a restaurant in Zambujeira has seen a 20% increase in customer and billing at the end of six years, said one of the owners, Brian Silva.
“We have never had to hire more employees and this year we had to hire two more, just like we opened a parking lot,” he explained.
Also five minutes from the park, another of the closest restaurants, located in Casal Foz, registered a slight growth of customers, who now come from Bragança to Portimão.
“Last week, 40% of customers came or went to the park and it was a weekday,” said the owner, Francisco Martinho, who also had to create two more jobs.
In Reguengo Pequeno, 10 minutes from the park, Sónia Mota and her brother decided six months ago to risk and reopen the establishment that the parents had with the name allusive to the dinosaurs, for more than 20 years, and had to close during the crisis.
“It was because of Dino Parque that we decided to reopen with a new concept and these first six months went better than we expected,” said the businesswoman of the establishment that, despite being located inside the county, was “full every day in the summer”.
Two restaurants in Praia da Areia Branca have also confirmed that they have felt a “greater affluence”, especially “in the summer, on weekends and holidays and during school holidays.”
Rui Ferreira, manager of one of the establishments, which also has accommodation for tourists, even pointed to a “20% increase in billing”.
In the county seat, 10 minutes from the park, opinions are divided. While Jorge Lopes did not feel a big change, Miguel Pinto noticed a growth between 10 and 15% in his billing, after having opened on Sundays, day off, between May and September.
A rural tourism unit in São Bartolomeu and a hotel in Atalaia, respectively five and fifteen minutes from the park, had an increase in occupancy and revenues, but only in the first month of Dino Parque.
In a hotel in Lourinhã, at 10 minutes, the weekends became full and the occupation increased by 70%.
In the old museum, in the center of the village, “comparing February to October 2016 and 2018, there was a 25% drop in visitors, but there was an increase in school visits,” told the president of the Ethnography and Archeology of Lourinhã (GEAL), Lubélia Gonçalves, for whom, despite everything, the dream of having a larger space than the museum for dinosaur finds, which “is contributing to the development of the county, was fulfilled.”
With the transfer of the paleontological treasure to the park, the GEAL Museum redesigned its exhibition area, enriching it, making it more attractive and creating a new collection dedicated to the history of the Atlantic Ocean, inviting the visitor to travel 252 million years.
In recent decades, museum palaeontologists have discovered dinosaur fossils, which have made Lourinhã the world’s leading palaeontologist.
Dino Parque da Lourinhã, an investment of 3.5 million euros and one of the largest dinosaur theme parks in Europe, where dinosaur fossils and 120 full-scale models can be seen, has received 338,000 visitors and is expected to close the year with 345 thousand, according to the director general, Luís Rocha.