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Edinburgh Zoo Has the panda ticketing policy worked?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by kiang, 26 Feb 2013.

  1. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

    12 Aug 2007
    Beauval zoo in France has posted visitor numbers, tipping the magic million and that was without their panda pair being on display for the whole calendar year, so what?, you might think.
    Edinburgh, having had their pair for the whole year, for 2012, visitor numbers are nowhere near as impressive, somewhere around the 800'000.
    In my opinion, i think the ticket to view system in operation at Edinburgh has a lot to answer for.
    Beauval, i'm sure has no such system, come whenever you like and view our pandas.
    Ticketing, especially online, excludes those people that cannot or do not use the web, visitors who wake up that morning, deciding to go see the pandas.
    Surely the zoo can now, drop this only option to see the stars of the collection and let their fans roll in.
  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    1 Dec 2007
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    Denver Zoo had a ticketing system for its $50 million Toyota Elephant Passage complex, and it lasted from June to August during last summer. Of course the zoo regularly receives over 2 million visitors, but Edinburgh's 800,000 does not seem enough to justify any kind of ticketing policy even though it is for Giant Pandas. I've personally never been very supportive of any kind of policy that could possibly taint a zoo visit. San Diego has been breeding Giant Pandas for years and it is simply a "first come-first see" opportunity!
  3. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    12 Feb 2009
    But SL, San Diego has had pandas for years. They're not having to accommodate a massive spike in visitation after the arrival of the pandas for the first time. How much is Edinburgh visitation up on pre-panda levels?

    Adelaide Zoo had ticketing for panda viewing for the first few months they were there. It was about crowd safety, ensuring people got a chance to actually see them and that the numbers around the exhibit weren't overwhelming for the still-new pandas. Eminently sensible.
  4. Davef68

    Davef68 Well-Known Member

    31 May 2011
    There is very little space in the indoor area, where they spend a fair bit of time. At busy times, there could be a real Health & Safety issue if too many people were crowding in.

    I've found that at quiet times, the ticketing policy is relaxed - one one trip, we went to see them three times without tickets.
  5. Tunanta

    Tunanta Well-Known Member

    14 Aug 2010
    The ticketing system does mean I don't see the pandas often cos I don't pre plan trips often + I can see it could be frustrating for some visitors. That said I think the zoo wouldn't allow indoor viewing (especially on busy days) without it-both for visitor health + safety as its a small space with few exits so a bug crush risk + for the pandas well-being, the male is a delicate thing it seems + the zoo are rightfully cautious about not stressing him. I do think the zoo probably didn't expect to keep the system through winter (the initial job contracts were seasonal for example) so they mustve decided either it works well or its needed for some reason.
  6. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

    15 Jun 2010
    I think one issue [though probably not represented as a huge demographic of Edinburgh's visitors] is reciprocal membership holders of other zoos. I was told tickets could be held if I phoned on the day of visit, but I couldn't get through to anybody and until I was pretty much there. Luckily it was a weekday and I managed to pick up a ticket on arrival - however, if I were to have gone on a weekend as most people do then I think this would have been an issue. I think the system works in principle and is necessary for Edinburgh, but I think they need to take into account having a way for everybody to get a ticket [i.e. not EZ members portal or having to buy an entrance ticket] - maybe if on the website you simply book your ticket for the pandas.
  7. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    10 Feb 2012
    Agree with you entirely on this, lack of adequate arrangements for reciprocal memberships is one of the main reasons i have delayed my next visit until the ticketing stops. If i made a 2 day visit having travelled 300 plus miles to be told i couldn't get a ticket i would be furious- regardless of how much i love the rest of the zoo!
  8. Reevesie

    Reevesie Well-Known Member

    2 Nov 2009
    Sandy, Beds
    I have an annual pass for Colchester which I used at Edinburgh, I called them and pre booked my tickets about a month in advance and had no problems

    TARZAN Well-Known Member

    11 Jul 2010
    I do not find it surprising that Edinburgh's visitor numbers have not reached the one million figure since the arrival of the giant pandas, I think they were being too optimistic to expect that figure with a panda pass system or not. Personally I was not in favour of this pass system from the start, I appreciate that space is limited particularly at the indoor area, however, I would have thought using marshals to politely move the crowds on at busy times would have been preferable, on all the occasions at London when they have had giant panda arrivals in my life time, right back to when Ann Ann came from Moscow I cannot recall this zoo ever employing a panda pass system. A friend of mine last year informed me that he was taking his young family to Edinburgh in the school holidays, stopping overnight, the main reason of the visit was to see the giant pandas, I asked him if he had reserved the panda passes, he didn't know anything about it, he immediately contacted the zoo to reserve the passes, which he got with no trouble, he was also very grateful to me for informing him of this ticket system, god forbid if they had went without reserving the passes, it could have been possible that they may have been disappointed. I also wonder if the zoo can maintain the 800,000 visitor number in the years to come when they still have the large rent to pay to the Chinese for these animals, after the initial novelty has worn off it has been stated elsewhere that at other collections who have taken giant pandas, as the years progress, visitor numbers gradually decline, except of coarse if there is the patter of tiny black and white feet, fingers crossed!
  10. SMR

    SMR Well-Known Member

    22 Oct 2009
    I'm not a fan of the ticket system either (for lots of reasons), but I believe it's actually making the indoor area more crowded, not less, as an entire group descends on the indoor area all in one go.

    I don't think the indoor area could be more crowded that the interior of Realm of the Red Ape at Chester, and they don't seem to care about health and safety issues.