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International theme parks will boost tourist arrivals


The lower costs to enter such theme parks make them key tourist destinations



Foreign tourist arrivals are expected to rise, boosted by the opening of more international theme parks in Malaysia.

Malaysia has already boosted international theme parks like Legoland and Desaru Coast, while the 20th Century Fox World, a movie-inspired theme park, is currently being constructed in Genting Highlands.

The openings of these parks will woo tourists especially from Asia and new markets like India as these foreign visitors seek specific holiday and family entertainment. The lower costs to enter such theme parks in Malaysia compared to in Europe or the US make these internationally recognised parks key tourist destinations.

Legoland Malaysia Resort sales and marketing director Thila Munusamy said the company’s amusement park has changed the landscape of theme parks in Malaysia since it was opened in 2012.

“Previously, Legoland was only built in the UK and US, and Legoland Malaysia was the first one in Asia, so our development was definitely attracting tourists from the region.

“By having an international level theme park, it also boosts international tourist arrivals in the country,” Thila told The Malaysian Reserve at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair March 2018: Malaysia’s Favourite Theme Parks press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

She added that Legoland sees a gradual increase of international tourist arrivals yearon- year, and she expects the number to grow on the back of an upcoming interactive sea aquarium “Sea Life Malaysia” slated for opening by year-end.

Legoland has been welcoming tourists from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. Thila said the resort is also targeting new markets, including India.

She added that Malaysian theme parks segment is definitely growing as there is a lot more of the developments expected to be opened in the country, while some of the older ones are undergoing refurbishment.

Another new theme park anticipated is the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark — a component of Desaru Coast — in Johor, scheduled to open at end-June 2018.

Integrated Theme Parks and Attractions CEO and Themed Attractions Resorts and Hotel Sdn Bhd chief commercial officer Philip Whittaker said it is one of the world’s biggest water parks set against the backdrop of a Malaysian fishing village, with a mix of 20 wet and dry rides, slides and attractions.

“We see that development of integrated destination resort is emerging across the region. There is also a growing demand for luxury resorts.

“Desaru Coast is a single destination resort which we don’t have yet in Malaysia, so we believe it will attract strong demand in domestic market and be appealing for the regional market,” Whittaker told reporters at the event.

Apart from the water park, Desaru Coast is also home to Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort and Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, among others.

Legoland Malaysia and Desaru Coast are both chosen as Malaysia’s favourite theme parks for Matta Fair March 2018.

MATTA CEO Phua Tai Neng said the organisation continues to provide business opportunities for its members and meet the demand of consumers — including theme parks — through the three-day event.

“Tourism Malaysia’s Tourism Performance Report from January to September 2017 data showed 19.6% of tourists were engaged in visiting theme parks in Malaysia.

“MATTA believes such collaboration will further boost tourist arrivals, both local and foreign visitors, and benefit theme park operators in the country,” Phua said.

Phua added that MATTA Fair March 2018 targets around 105,000 visitors, a slight increase from 103,880 visitors turnout for the previous event in September 2017.

The event six months ago achieved a sales turnover of RM205 million, and Phua said the association aims to gain around the same amount of sales during March 16 to 18, 2018.