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[Zhuhai] Theme parks add quality to scale for success

2016-February-5       Source: Chinadaily.com.cn

Although the 350-yuan admission ticket to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is 80 percent higher than the average 200-yuan tickets for theme parks in China, the destination tops the must-visit list of many Chinese families.

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. [File Photo]

Although the 350-yuan admission ticket to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is 80 percent higher than the average 200-yuan tickets for theme parks in China, the destination tops the must-visit list of many Chinese families.

That's because, quality-consciousness is rising among Chinese consumers of organized amusement.

To be sure, quantity, or scale, is important too. So, Chimelong, which already has a 1,888-room themed hotel within its resort in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, South China, has added two more hotels with around 2,000 rooms.

Such expansion comes on the back of a very strong 2015 for theme parks in Asia, particularly in China, as wealth rose, driving tourism and spends on life style experiences.

This in turn boosted reinvestment to keep the quality bar high and increase variety by way of new attractions.

For instance, Songcheng theme park added a new 4,500-seat theater for live performances of historical dramas. This effectively doubled its visitor capacity.

"This sends a message to the industry that people are prepared to pay for quality in this market," says Chris Yoshii, vice-president of AECOM Asia Pacific, a project design firm. "This demonstrable ability to handle higher prices will move the entire sector toward higher quality. Continual investment is necessary to maintain growth, and parks need to be able to raise prices to support the cost of those new attractions, creating magical, innovative visitor experiences that in turn continue to build the market of satisfied patrons."

Three Asia groups - OCT, Chimelong and Songcheng - now figure among the world's top 10 theme parks.

For OCT, growth comes primarily from adding new parks and upgrading existing parks, according to AECOM's annual report on the theme park industry.

Chimelong made it to the list for the first time last year, thanks to the opening of Chimelong Ocean Kingdom.

Songcheng, which has been growing aggressively, added new cultural parks and show venues in a number of cites.

"We will see more from all these three groups. Expanding geographically is the OCT route, while both Chimelong and Songcheng have several new projects in the pipeline," says Yoshii.

Editor: Will

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