There is a lot to do around the ticket prices for Elfia. We used to be able to give hefty discounts on the €35 day tickets that we sold at the day checkouts, at the gate before the covid crisis. Now we can only give small discounts on the normal Sunday tickets (‘good eleven tickets’), and we even had to increase the normal Saturday tickets (‘good eleven tickets’) to €37.90.
Those hefty discounts are unfortunately over. We would have loved to maintain it, but we have our backs against the wall. Not only inflation on practically all fronts kills us completely, but also the restrictions in admitting the number of visitors have drastically reduced our income.
Number of visitors
Before the covid crisis, we were able to allow almost 15,000 visitors a day. Now – quite rightly from their point of view – both castle locations have decided to better protect their precious parks and buildings and to limit the number of visitors. At De Haar Castle, this has resulted in the very successful Country & Xmas Fair no longer being allowed to take place from 2023. Because we have resigned ourselves to a limit of 11,000 visitors per day, Elfia can still take place at De Haar castle. At the castle gardens Arcen there is an even stricter daily limit of 8,000 visitors per day. All this has resulted in a huge reduction in our revenue.
The inflation, which is currently very far reaching everywhere, is howling through all layers of an event like Elfia. Naturally, the extremely increased energy prices are being felt everywhere. Castles themselves have to quadruple the energy costs of their historic sites; artists and entertainers struggle with extreme transport prices and they too have to tell this to an event organization like Elfia. For suppliers (of, for example, rental equipment such as toilets, aggregates, tents and fences) there is even a double cost increase that comes on the board of the event organization: not only the transport costs, but also the fact that many staff have been moved to other locations during the covid crisis. sectors, which force salary costs to rise, must be transferred to Elfia.
Parking costs at the Arcen castle gardens have remained somewhat under control, but parking in the meadows around De Haar castle is under great pressure. Natuurmonumenten itself was forced to multiply its rents; Unfortunately, De Haar castle itself has had to give up three quarters of its own large parking space to the nearby golf club; and the cost of transporting, renting and laying the iron road plates required by the hundreds for the muddy pastures has increased fivefold.
In the past, we as an organization mostly relied on volunteers, which allowed us to operate more cheaply. But the pressure on this fantastic and indispensable group has become too great. We have already had to recruit more professionals to take over a number of core tasks and will have to continue this.
No government support
During the Covid crisis – due to a separate business construction – we did not receive a single cent of government support. As a result, we literally lost all our financial reserves built up over the years during the crisis. We therefore no longer have any reserves to be able to absorb – temporarily or otherwise – the extremely increased costs ourselves.
All these factors have led to the fact that, to our own great sadness, we can no longer afford the luxury of selling the Elfia entrance tickets with great discounts. Previously, we had 20% of the day tickets and weekend tickets with more than 50% discount on sale. However, this is no longer the case.
Unfortunately, the only solution is to drop most discounts on the entrance tickets, and to even increase the entrance price for Saturday by €2.90. We understand very well that a number of Elfia fans are not well off themselves, and had hoped to be able to maintain these discounts, but due to the above factors, we really have our backs against the wall. In order for Elfia to exist, we have no choice but to drop most of the discounts. We hope and pray that both we as an organization and you as Elfians will not be surprised again by even more inflation and further restrictions in visitor numbers.