Jean-Marcel Thomas, director of the Euro Space Centre: “The Belgians have rediscovered what is good close to home”

After a renovation and an epidemic, the educational park dedicated to space initiation finds its visitors. Two shades on the board: visitors from other continents and French-speaking secondary schools.

“The results exceeded our expectations.” Euro Space Center Director Jean-Marcel Thomas is pleased. After a complete renovation two years ago And braces for Covid, the Libin Educational Park, dedicated to space exploration and related sciences, has found its audience. Alone is still missing Students from other continents who have come to spend a few days of training at this unique site.

Unlike some amusement parks, 2021 will ultimately be a very good year, With more than 72,000 visitors since the record year of Dark Freymouth’s flight in 1992. “On the other hand, for the courses, it was more complicated, because the rules were always changing: open, closed, not for making prospects or meals, staying in boarding schools or day schools”, explains Jean-Marcel Thomas. “But compared to other amusement parks that have been closed for two years, I’m not complaining. We are able to reopen because our museum has status as an educational theme park. So we were able to take part in this breath of fresh air that people were looking for, even if we were very strict in terms of hygiene.”



“I have a subsidy that represents a little less than 3% of my turnover, the rest comes from my profits.”

Jean Marcel Thomas

Director of Euro Space Center

Despite all these obstacles, The Euro Space Center returned to breakeven last year, 3.2 million with receipts, 3.15 million for expenses. A small feat for an educational park Very little subsidy. “I’m a little different from everyone else. Many education sites operate with a large majority of subsidies and a very small amount of revenue. Here, it’s the opposite. I have a subsidy that represents less than 3% of my turnover and the rest comes from my profits. I’m a Obliged to act like a company”, argued the CEO.

In the previous two years the park was in loss due to exceptional circumstances. In 2020, it was closed almost all the time. The last relevant full year for comparison is 2018, with 52,000 visitors and 35,000 internship days.

A cosmic valley

After its modernization, the public was able to rediscover a heavily renovated park with a new route, new attractions and a Martin Village. The interior space is completed by an exterior park, “Cosmic Valley”, which reproduces the solar system and its planets to scale. The investment in this is about 14 crore rupees It was partly financed by the Walloon Region, the municipality of Libin, the intermunicipal company Idelux and loans.

75,000

audience

For this year, the management has set an ambitious target of 75,000 visitors and 30,000 training days.

For this year, the management has set an ambitious target of 75,000 visitors and 30,000 training days. “For this last section, below is what I’ve already done, because I had an international audience Which I currently lost, due to covid, then due to Ukraine“, Jean-Marcel Thomas noted again. “But somewhere, there was something extraordinary: with Covid, the Belgians rediscovered what was good near their home.”

Today, it is Belgian school students who come mainly for space classes and internships, A few European institutions have saved, though. “For now, I see primary schools going down. But this is a real way of the cross To attract French-speaking secondary schools, because nothing is planned for them so that they can come, while we are lucky to have such devices at home. Everyone has the right to do what they want. But I am always saddened to know that we used to have schools in the Emirates, Israel, Turkey, India or Australia Who came to us on a journey to the end of humanity, but our students went to Rome or Paris to have fun…”



“This is a real way for Cross to attract French-speaking secondary schools to the Euro Space Center.”

Another limitation for the site: supervision. “Like many others we have a recruitment problem! I am looking for trilingual or bilingual trainers and educators. We already have around fifty permanent staff, plus 120 students a year.”

A recognized framework

Former Wallabies boss Jean-Marcel Thomas was appointed in the 2000s. For a consulting mission with two options: close the Euro Space Center or sell it to a buyer. After more than twenty years, he succeeded in making it a structure recognized worldwide as a training center (36 nationalities on the list) and the beginning of space for young people, but it is one of the. pillar of tourism In the province of Luxembourg, the Bastogne war museum, along with the Château de Bouillon and the caves of Hahn.

For the future, he wants to go further. “I aim to create a place that is a “place to be”. If you want your museum or park to always be interesting, interactivity and new technology are not enough. When creating a simulator you have to think, to link technology, such as virtual reality. , A physical process that makes attraction immersive and unique, such as for Marswalk. You can have virtual reality in your home, but only at the Euro Space Center can you get the feeling of walking on Mars.”

brief

  • After renovations and closures due to the pandemic, the Euro Space Center, an educational park dedicated to space initiation, Finds its audience.
  • For now, however, students from other continents remain Again to absent clients for internships.
  • French-speaking secondary schools Also don’t rush the site.
  • Libin Park, very low subsidy, Employs break even and monitors.

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