KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — Malaysia is poised to become the theme park capital of Asean as the country becomes home to more international-level theme parks which augur well for its economy.
Over 21 theme parks and water parks are expected by 2020 and this addition includes the world’s first Twentieth Century Fox Studios and a Ubisoft video game indoor theme park to make the market even merrier.
Sunway Theme Parks Senior General Manager Calvin Ho said the rise of many theme parks and attractions would also help to increase inbound tourists and contribute to a steady rise in local visitors.
Last year, 49.4 million international arrivals were recorded which was seen as a boon for local theme park operators to help cushion the softer sentiment among domestic patrons.
“To be South-east Asia’s theme park capital, it is something to be proud of as it is great for our economy and tourism sector to draw more tourists (local and international) into the country,” he told Bernama in an email.
Ho explained that the new indoor attractions would be more adapted to new trends including active play such as District 21, edutainment (KidZania, Petrosains, Aquaria, Entopia), lifestyle-driven (The Top) and Internet Protocol-based (Angry Birds Activity Park, Thomas Town, Sanrio Hello Kitty Town).
“I would say it is a healthy balance to have local operators around as tourists can visit one theme park during their stay this round, and another theme park during their future stays — which gives us the advantage of repeat visitors too,” he added.
Comparing Malaysia to its neighbours, the country is spearheading the list of international theme park set to operate soon while Indonesia opened Rabbit Town in January and Thailand launched its Ramayana theme park in 2016.
Malaysia, he added, had the advantage of strengthening its position as Asia’s preferred family holiday destination, especially with the lower cost to enter such theme parks in Malaysia compared with Europe or the United States which make these internationally recognised parks more appealing to parents’ wallets.
As for amusement parks under the Sunway theme park, Ho noted that Sunway Lagoon and Lost World Of Tambun in Perak, recorded incremental growths in visitorship in 2017, with 1.6 million visitors and 1.1 million visitors, respectively.
For Sunway Lagoon, 55 per cent of the visitors were foreign tourists, mainly from the Middle East, South-east Asia and Australasia.
“However, for the Lost World Of Tambun, it remains a domestic traveler’s choice for a theme park adventure with over 90 per cent of the visitors coming from within Malaysia,” Ho said.
Commenting on attractions at theme parks, Ho said to stay relevant in the market, operators need to come out with unique selling points. In this light, the Sunway theme park adopted the concept of a multi-park destination.
“For instance, Lost World Of Tambun recently launched Luminous Forest, the first bio-luminescent attraction within the park’s natural terrains.
“The construction of the attraction started in the third quarter of 2016, which saw a total investment of about RM1 million placed into the 0.61-hectare attraction”, he said, adding that Malaysian theme parks must stay relevant with a targeted marketing strategy and product development to encourage return visitors and generate a sustainable income for the industry.
“We believe that a theme park has to constantly evolve by improving customer experience – guests want to get the best out of their money whether it is through unique experiences, special promotions or exciting events and activities,” he added. — Bernama