2020 has been a dark year. For the world. For our industry.
And for Liseberg, 2020 was the first year since the park welcomed its first guests in 1923, that the park did not open. Not because a safe and responsible opening was not possible, but because the Swedish amusement park industry got squeezed in a conundrum of a pandemic legislation, that was not really made for the situation we were in.
The consequences for Liseberg have been enormous – financially and organizationally. A dark year, indeed. But there are points of light even in the deepest of darkness. I am extremely proud of my Liseberg colleagues. 2020 has made us more creative. More solution-oriented. More agile and ready to handle unexpected situations. No stone has been left unturned – which is no easy feat, in a hundred-year-old organization.
But if we zoom out a little, I think we all ask ourselves what kind of consequences the pandemic will have long term. My guess is as good or bad as anybody else’s, but I do not really think the pandemic will actually change things, as much as it will accelerate existing change.
However, 2020 will serve as a test – or should we call it a dress rehearsal – for a change that is much larger and more impactful. And that is the change driven by the sustainability agenda in a broad sense – and climate change more specifically.
2020 has taught us all about the force of nature. About our own vulnerability. How interconnected we are, in this new globalized reality. But most of all, we have learned that we can’t take anything for granted.
And this is in many ways the essence of sustainability. To understand, that we are not living off an endless stream of resources. And we should be responsible, and make wise choices here and now, that will give the generations coming after us the same opportunities that we got.
There are two ways of looking at COVID-19’s impact on the sustainability agenda. Some argue, that COVID-19 will in fact accelerate efforts, given the experience we have all had the last year. Others would argue, that we in the coming years can’t afford to think long-term, and COVID-19 will hinder or delay the agenda.
I belong to the first group. I think we can – and will – learn valuable lessons from 2020. And that is a light in all the darkness.