Owner Sean Taylor on Zip World rebranding and expansion South Wales Argus
ZIP World has become one of the top tourist attractions in Wales thanks to its high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled experiences – and it could be set to spread its wings.
Emanating out of Tree Top Adventure high ropes course, Zip World boasts the fastest zip line in the world, and longest in Europe, at Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda.
But the Llanrwst-based business, owned by former Royal Marine commando Sean Taylor, boasts a lot more than the thrilling Velocity 2, which reaches speeds of around 120mph.
The company is now spread over seven sites across Wales and the north of England, having recently branched out into the Lake District and Manchester.
And there’s a chance that Zip World, now valued at £100m, will expand a lot further, according to Mr Taylor.
“We will always be a Welsh-based company,” he said during an episode of Welsh Business Heroes, a joint venture between NatWest, Landsker Business Solutions and Newsquest.
“We get expressions of interest on a weekly basis for businesses in Europe, the Far East and America.
“That could be another direction where the company goes.”
As well as its zip wire rides at Penrhyn Quarry, the firm has attractions in Rhyl, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Betws-y-Coed and the former Tower Colliery site near Hirwaun in south Wales.
These include Skyflyer, an airship that hovers 140m over Rhyl, which opens next year, an underground adventure golf course and the first two-seater rollercoaster in Europe.
However, short-stay accommodation is a new area that Mr Taylor is taking Zip World into.
“We are looking at going more into short-break holidays with accommodation,” he added.
“I think there’s a huge market in short-stay accommodation. We want to be looking at accommodation in iconic sites but with a bit of an edge to it as well.
“We bought a hotel in Capel Curig two months ago and we want to do something special there that no-one else is doing.
“This summer, we bought a business in the Lake District and Manchester, and we’ve got other acquisitions and opportunities coming up.
“There’s also a real gap in the market for sustainable transport. Everyone talks about it, no-one’s really doing it properly.”
And he also revealed that the company is likely to undergo a rebrand before the year is out.
He said: “Zip World is a great brand. The brand is bigger than what we have on the ground.
“We’ve got a five-year plan, that’s part of being involved with private equity.
“Obviously the money is important so we can be profitable and grow, but for me it’s about the legacy and enjoying the ride with the good and bad times.”
He continued: “We’re probably looking at a rebrand. It’s a big step for us. It’s probably as ZW because over half our products are non-Zip World.”