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FIRING LINE: Dream Twister, a nightmare?

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Now that all efforts are being made to revive the local economy, much focus goes into boosting tourism which reels in money from abroad and employs thousands. If there’s any time to shout to the world that “it’s more fun in the Philippines,” that time is now.

Tourism is a sweet spot to jumpstart our stagnant economy mainly because the best tourism ambassadors, of course, are Filipinos. We’ve always had it in our bones to work hard, play hard, and post them on our “socials” for all to see.

While I haven’t planned on any getaway yet, the out-of-town prospects are enticing. Pandemic-traumatized households like mine, however, do have some reservations about coming out of our shells. But we rejoice on the news that hotels are back on track, not just for the sick or the quarantined. Likewise, we are happy that fun and leisure spots within the metropolis are coming back to life.

The excitement of my kids that carnival rides are back at the reclaimed complex in Pasay City is at fever pitch and the likelihood of the whole family going there is made brighter by the prospect of downgrading restrictions to Alert Level 1 by March 1.

It’s lamentable, though, that a dangerous incident marred the soft launching of the “Dream Twister,” a centerpiece ride at the SkyRanch amusement park, last Feb. 12. The three-bladed twisting and rotating ride jammed while carrying a dozen patrons 20 feet from the ground for almost five minutes of unsimulated terror.

Fortunately, the fail-safe feature of the ride kicked in and all the passengers walked away from the scene in one piece. What’s disappointing is that not a single medic was there to check the passengers for possible injuries or trauma. Two of them later complained of knee and shoulder pains from their ordeal.

In an interview with GMA-7’s “Kapuso mo, Jessica Soho,” Philippine Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions member of the board, Ramon Santos, automatically dismissed any liability on the part of the carnival ride operator. Such an arbitrary response, without the benefit of an investigation by a regulator, reflects a refusal to take responsibility.

While admission of one’s fault rarely comes, if ever; and denials, however dishonest, are more common because of pride and rejection of any bit of responsibility, such should not be the case for the amusement park industry if it endeavors to contribute to renewed confidence in leisure and amusement activities.

For SkyRanch, it would be difficult to market the Dream Twister as its main attraction without improving its emergency response and doubling its maintenance efforts. In addition, it needs to nurture trust among its patrons that they’re buying a ticket to a safe and enjoyable ride, not to a nightmare experienced wide awake.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at https://www.thephilbiznews.com

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