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This Week's News

Real Madrid park for Abu Dhabi

Spanish football club Real Madrid is pursuing leisure plans in the Middle East, with a theme park in Abu Dhabi a strong likelihood, reports suggest.

The club is understood to have signed a deal with the RAK government and the RAK Marjan Island Football Investment Fund to build a 50-hectare themed resort in the Emirate.

Earlier this year, the world's first ever Real Madrid Café opened in Jumeriah Beach Residence in Dubai.

Developers scoop WWA awards

Continued innovation in the waterparks sector was highlighted at a recent awards ceremony in Las Vegas, with leading product developers Polin and WhiteWater being counted among the winners.

The 2014 World Waterpark Association (WWA) Symposium and Trade Show took place at the Paris Hotel last week.

Turkey-based Polin Waterparks and WhiteWater of Canada both scooped Leading Edge awards, in an acknowledgement of the suppliers' dedication towards innovation in the sector.

Polin received its award following the October 3 opening of Cartoon Network Amazone, a large waterpark in Thailand.

Located less than 20 minutes from Pattaya City on the Thailand's increasingly popular north-eastern coast, the waterpark features 30 water rides and slides, live Cartoon Network entertainment shows, mascot meet and greets, thrill attractions and interactive water play fun for the entire family.

"It gives us immense pleasure in winning this prestigious award that recognises our pioneering work in providing world class attractions in a ground-breaking collaboration with Cartoon Network Amazone," stated Baris Pakis, president of the Turkish group.

"As the supplier of many award winning waterparks in the world, we are proud of to be working in conjunction with Cartoon Network Amazone's creative and innovative team and is the first waterpark to have all their waterslides themed.

"Though theming in waterparks is not new, the theming of the all waterslides as characters or elements of a story is something brand new."

WhiteWater took home two Leading Edge awards for recent waterslide installations at Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis the Palm, Dubai, and Wet 'n' Wild Sydney in Australia.

"As the sole supplier for the Aquaventure Waterpark, WhiteWater is proud to receive a WWA Leading Edge Award in collaboration with Atlantis the Palm, Dubai," the company said.

The resort's latest expansion from WhiteWater, the Tower of Poseidon, included the world's largest diameter waterslide, the Anaconda, and a number of other rides.

At Wet 'n' Wild, meanwhile, WhiteWater supplied two waterslide complexes to the park, which is operated by Village Roadshow.

WWA Symposium

The World Waterpark Association is the world's leading water leisure trade association, serving more than 1,000 park operator and supplier members from more than 42 countries around the world.

The WWA's Annual Symposium and Trade Show is the world's largest gathering of water leisure professionals and development experts, and the only show focused exclusively on the water leisure industry.

Ten-year midway deal signed

Hugh Mitchell, chief executive officer of Western Fair District (WFD) has signed a 10-year contract with supplier North American Midway Entertainment (NAME).

NAME, the Indiana-based provider of rides, games and food to fairs and events across the US, will be the sole provider of midway attractions to WFD's annual Western Fair, which takes place each September in Ontario, Canada.

The Western Fair joins NAME's family of fairs in Canada, which includes the Calgary Stampede, Edmonton K-Days, Saskatoon Prairieland Exhibition and the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

NAME provides attractions - including rides, games and food - to approximately 15 million fair goers annually at over 130 events.

The group owns more than 200 amusement rides and operates five midway units that geographically cover five Canadian provinces and 20 US States, making the company the number one midway operator in the world.

The 2015 Western Fair will take place on September 11-20.

Hotel for Hello Kitty park

Shanghai-based Jin Jiang International Hotels is planning to open its newest property by the end of the year.

Yin Run Jin Jiang Resort Anji will be located opposite the soon-to-open Hello Kitty theme park in north-western Zhejiang Province.

Anji has been seeing a rapid and positive year on year tourism growth particularly within the eco-tourism sector.

The county is renowned for its sprawling, rich bamboo forests and natural scenic greenery, serving as an idyllic and relaxing destination for travellers.

Set amidst luscious forestation and a picturesque mountainous backdrop, this luxury five-star hotel is sprawled over 26,000sq.m of land and the building itself covers an area of 46,000sq.m.

The hotel's exterior resembles a grandiose classic European castle and has a man-made river surrounding the main entrance.

There will be 43 Hello Kitty-themed guestrooms and suites of which each room will feature designs of this iconic character.

In addition, guests staying in these themed rooms will get to check in at an exclusive reception counter specifically for those staying in the Hello Kitty rooms.

Accesso extends Palace contract

Accesso Technology has extended its relationship with attractions operator Palace Entertainment relationship for three more years.

The extension builds on a relationship that began with a deal for one of the park operator's venues back in 2012.

Accesso's Passport eCommerce product suite will continue to be used at Palace attractions until at least 2017.

As a result, the AIM-quoted contactor to the theme park and leisure industry will continue to provide ticketing and ecommerce solutions across fourteen Palace venues - including the Raging Waters park in San Dimas and the Splish Splash Waterpark in New York.

"Extending this agreement both strengthens our relationship with Palace Entertainment and reinforces our belief that through Accesso Passport, our technology can be a critical strategic revenue driver for their business," said chief executive Tom Burnet.

Tokyo Disney attendance drops

Tokyo Disney Resort has announced that the total combined attendance at Tokyo Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea Park during the first half of this fiscal year (April 1 to September 30, 2014) amounted to a figure of 15,099,000 persons, representing a decrease of 260,000 persons, or 98.3 per cent of the attendance figure for the same period last year.

The park's operator, Oriental Land Company (OLC), was quick to point out that this attendance drop was expected following last year's record figure. The group also noted that the latest first-half figures are the second highest in the group's history in Tokyo.

During the first half of this fiscal year, the new Tokyo Disneyland night-time entertainment, Once Upon a Time, presented from May 29, attracted guests to the parks," OLC stated.

"In addition, the Tokyo Disneyland attraction, Jungle Cruise, which re-opened on September 8 in a new version titled Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions, as well as special events filled with seasonal elements held at the two Parks, also proved to be highly popular."

OLC added: "As this year follows immediately after the record high attendance during the Tokyo Disney Resort 30th Anniversary, a decline in turnout was expected in the initial forecast for this fiscal year."

Vingroup opens second Vinpearl Land

Vietnamese operator Vingroup has opened its second Vinpearl Land amusement park in the country.

The new park opened on November 1 on Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand, alongside the group's new 750-room Vinpearl Resort Phu Quoc, a signature Vincharm Spa and a 27-hole Vinpearl Golf Club.

Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc sits on a 170,000sq.m site in Bai Dai on Phu Quoc Island, which is a 45-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City and is easily accessible from Thailand.

Features include a waterpark; 5D Cinema; Fairy Castle; Under Water World, complete with an aquarium home to more than 600 species of marine life; and outdoor and indoor games zones, featuring rides such as Condor, Disk-O-Coaster, Windmills and Flying UFO.

More 'traditional' attractions include a carousel swing and a large Ferris Wheel ride, while options for younger visitors include a children's roller coaster, kid's pool, bumper cars and a mini Ferris wheel.

Dining options can be found in the Food Village and Yummy Land, with retail therapy offered at Shopping Street. Live performances range from dolphin and mermaids shows in Dolphin Lagoon to the Musical Water Fountain show and Vinpearl Land Carnival show.

Further attractions can be found on Phu Quoc itself, with its stunning National Park and excellent beaches and diving.

As Vingroup's chief executive officer, Duong Thi Mai Hoa, explained, Vingroup's roll out of the Vinpearl Land concept goes hand in hand with its development of luxurious Vinpearl Resorts, Vincharm Spas and Vinpearl Golf Clubs and Phu Quoc park is just the latest in a line of planned openings.

"Not only does Vingroup aim to be the pioneer and the leader in Vietnam's entertainment industry we aim to put the country firmly on the map as one of the amusement park capitals of Asia," she said.

"To this end we are looking to develop further attractions around the country in the coming years, including some more amusement parks in different parts of the country, backed by more of our smaller family entertainment centre attractions around the country."

Dutch court rules in favour of KMG

A Dutch court has ruled in favour of manufacturer KMG Europe in a high-profile copyright case.

According to KMG's Peter Theunisz, a Dutch showman was operating a copy of the company's Freak Out ride that was manufactured by a Czech company.

Similar copied rides are being manufactured by other factories in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Asia, Theunisz said.

On October 2, the Dutch court confirmed that Freak Out carnival ride is protected by copyright law, and that the illegitimate Czech ride used the same effects, model, colours and decorations.

"According to the judge, the manufacturer and owner have not investigated possible solutions to build a similar ride that doesn't infringe our copyright, nor have they attempted to make this ride look distinctively different than the KMG Freak Out," said Theunisz.

Following the ruling, the showman is no longer allowed to operate this copied machine in the Netherlands. He faces a fine of €20,000 ($25,200) for each day the ride is in operation.

The operator was also told to pay all trial expenses.

River Safari hosts Halloween event

On October 17, River Safari in Singapore hosted its first Halloween event, Safari Boo.

The event saw close to 200 special guests - including 60 preschoolers - enjoy a closed-door trip to the wildlife reserve.

They were treated to a special animal presentation on creepy crawlies, up-close animal encounters and an after-dark experience.

Safari Boo continues on selected dates throughout the rest of October, and ends on November 2.

Children aged 12 years and below enjoy free admission from 6pm and are encouraged to dress up for a Halloween costume contest.

Sandy joins NRCMA board

Adam Sandy, long-time industry insider, ride enthusiast and historian, has joined the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives (NRCMA) board of directors for a three-year term.

"We were strategically looking for someone who knows all of the current ride manufacturers and the history of the industry," Gary Slade, NRCMA chairman said.

"Adam has an inventory of roller coasters and midway rides in his head that rivals any historical book. His passion for the industry will help the NRCMA achieve our next goals."

Sandy has been a part of the Ride Entertainment Group since 2004. He oversees all of the company's sales and revenue share initiatives, and contracts for REG's ride installation and retrofit team.

In addition, he runs the marketing and social media programs for the company as a whole and the individual properties under the Ride Operations Group banner.

Sandy replaces foundational board member and historian, B. Derek Shaw.