Theme park sets up "I hate work" website

Business group calls campaign to lure visitors mid-week "irresponsible"

A British amusement park has launched an “I hate work” website, a move that is drawing the ire of companies that claim it encourages people to skip work.

The Federation of Small Businesses criticized the move by Alton Towers — Britain’s biggest theme park — to setup the site and promote a weekday discount offer.

“Do you know a friend in need of a great day out — away from work? Simply e-mail this URL to them and they too can get out of the office and have a great day out at Alton Towers,” the website states.

The federation, which represents more than 185,000 members, said the promotion was “irresponsible” and that it planned to contact the country’s Advertising Standards Authority.

The federation said absenteeism costs the United Kingdom about £10 billion ($24 billion Cdn) per year. In a statement, the federation said “I’m sure Alton Towers wouldn’t like it if their staff took time off unjustifiably to go to (a rival theme park).”

But Mike Lorimer, the marketing manager for Alton Towers, said the theme park — which attracts about 2.5 million visitors a year — isn’t responsible for corporate absenteeism.

“It’s not up to us to reduce absenteeism,” said Lorimer. “And if workers want to take advantage of the mid-week deals, why not?”

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