Visitor numbers to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida are expected to soar following the finale of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
The live series final, which took place on Saturday 7 April 2018, saw more than 250 lucky ‘Place on the Plane’ competition winners flown out to the theme park, courtesy of Virgin Holidays.
Headed by Declan Donnelly and co-presented by Stephen Mulhern and Scarlett Moffatt, star appearances included former Bond Girl, Denise Richards, and singer-songwriter, Craig David.
There were also performances from duo The Rembrandts, who sung the Friends theme song ‘I’ll Be There For You’ as part of the show’s Singalong Live segment, as well as hip-hip singer Jason Derulo who promoted his new song ‘Colors’.
Visitor numbers to Universal Orlando Resort are expected to soar
However, one person was noticeably missing from the final: co-host Ant McPartlin who admitted himself into rehab following being arrested on suspicion of drink-driving in March last month.
Despite intense speculation whether the show would go on, the final episode of the controversial series was a hit – with eight million viewers tuning in to the watch the live show take place in Universal Orlando, according to TellyMix.
The show’s success is also expected to rub off on visitor numbers to the resort, which is owned by NBCUniversal.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, managing director EMEA for Universal Parks and Resorts, Alison Montague, commented: “Before the show we were already seeing an increase in search and interest in us.
“We expect that to continue beyond the show by generating awareness and bookings, showing people who have never been here what it’s actually like.”
Declan Donnelly, Stephen Mulhern and Scarlett Moffatt at Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Orlando Resort recorded a rise in visitors after a previous promotion with the ITV show back in 2017.
Interest peaked when seats on a specially chartered flight were given to prize winners, who were filmed at the airport.
“It created a real buzz, so that’s when we decided the next level would be to follow the winners,” Montague continued to Travel Weekly.
“So we were a bit of a test bed for that concept.”
“Saturday Night Takeaway is a really good marriage for us in terms of who we’re talking to.”
“The show typically appeals to groups of friends or family, with children of any age, who get together to have a great time and that’s what we’re all about.
“We think it’s going to be great for the trade, too – agents can bring this into conversation with their customers. After Saturday I imagine Florida, Orlando and Universal will be front of mind for a lot more people in the coming weeks.”
The finale of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway comes at a strategic time for the park, who has a number of new instalments planned for the coming year.
This includes the immersive ‘Fast and Furious – Supercharged’ attraction, an exhilarating 3D adventure involving a high speed chase with antagonist Owen Shaw.
Other new attractions include a new Bourne-themed stunt show expected to debut in early 2019.
Express.co.uk has contacted NBCUniversal for a comment.