Last Turbo Tour at Dunluce Centre as losses force closure
One of the best known tourist attractions on Northern Ireland's north coast is to close after the local council which runs it said it could no longer afford its upkeep.
The Dunluce Centre in Portrush, Co Antrim, opened in 1993 with its popular turbo tours simulator, distinctive viewing tower and laser quest game initially proving a worthwhile outlay of the millions spent on the family entertainment complex.
But a sharp decline in visitors has resulted in huge loses to Coleraine Borough Council who have decided to shut it down.
Councillors have been told that the attraction will close at the end of this summer after it incurred a loss of £187,000 last year, despite only opening from April to September.
While the centre is mostly staffed by part-time seasonal workers, councillors were told the full-time centre manager would be transferred to another post.
The council is now seeking a buyer or tenant for the property which also houses two indoor adventure playgrounds, cafes and tourist information.
Coleraine councillor Christine Alexander – who lives in Portrush – said the action was necessary.
"Considering the amount of money it was costing it was probably the smartest thing to do," she said. "It's being re-evaluated and we are all hoping it can be reopened at some stage. There is a belief that it could be a great facility if it is marketed properly."
A council spokeswoman said the centre was originally built "to be a wet weather facility as an integral part of the Portrush tourism offering".
She added: "There has been declining footfall and revenue, and without significant investment to update the facilities, this will continue."
Factfile: what's inside
• 4D Turbo Tours: Using flight simulation technology, seats move in sync with the action on-screen.
• Darklight Laser Drome: A tag game in which players wear a high-tech suit and attempt to zap others in a multi-level arena.
• Finn McCool's Playground: Junior play area for children and separate area for children up to age of 12 with climbing frames, slides and cargo nets.
• Viewing tower: Provides panoramic views of Portrush and the surrounding coastal area.