Tuesday, 22 Jul, 2014

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This Week's News

Ocean Kingdom to be developed

A Chinese developer is creating a CNY10bn ($1.6bn) theme park in Harbin, the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in north-eastern China.

Poseidon Ocean Kingdom will feature stories about the sea god Poseidon in Greek Mythology.

Set to open in July 2016, the park, which is being developed by Malaysia-based KWZone Group, will cover one square kilometre, making it larger than the Walt Disney resort, which is under construction in Shanghai.

Taylor Jeffs, creative director of US firm GGE Company, which is designing the project, said unlike Disney theme parks, attractions in Poseidon will take visitors into the stories. He said the park would consist of the lost empire of Atlantis with palaces and sculptures.

Song Xibin, mayor of Harbin, said at the park's inauguration ceremony in June that the project would help boost the city's cultural tourism industry and improve Harbin's competitiveness.

Indoor waterpark planned for NJ

Plans have been submitted for a $140m indoor waterpark and hotel at the Mountain Creek ski resort in Vernon, New Jersey, US.

The project would include an action sports centre, which Mountain Creek chief executive officer Andrew Mulvihill said would distinguish it from other indoor waterparks.

Mulvihill said the hotel would have 400 rooms, ranging from one to three bedrooms.

He said the waterpark, in addition to slides and other traditional fare, would try to incorporate the adventurous spirit of Action Park, the resort's recently re-named outdoor waterpark.

UK safari park mulls expansion

Waterslides, a jungle and even beaches are among the exotic visions for West Midland Safari Park under an £80m ($137m) expansion that will create 500 jobs.

The UK park is already one of Britain's biggest tourist attractions, with 750,000 visitors every year. Now it wants to expand with a jungle-themed indoor waterpark and 250-bedroom hotel.

Nick Laister, senior director of West Midland Safari Park's planning advisers RPS, said: "This is the biggest transformation of the park since it first opened and represents a major investment of £80m."

WhiteWater opens new office

Due to the explosive growth in Asia-Pacific, in particular China, WhiteWater Shanghai has moved to a larger office to be able to accommodate more clients, partners and employees.

Along with space for the addition of more WhiteWater employees to the office, it also offers improved client accessibility as well as more meeting spaces for the growing number of client meetings and workshops.

Sean Hinton, WhiteWater's executive vice president for Asia-Pacific, said: "We invite all clients and partners to visit the new office and get to know our extensive and growing team in Shanghai."

With its expansion, the Shanghai office now becomes the largest of WhiteWater's 20 sales offices worldwide, and the second only to WhiteWater headquarters in Canada in terms of size.

Paramount Park consultation begins

Earlier this month, developer London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) held a series of public consultation events relating to the proposed London Paramount Entertainment Resort in North Kent.

LRCH announced plans to develop the Paramount resort in October 2012, after it received a licence from Paramount Pictures Corporation, the US media conglomerate which has interests in theme parks and visitor attractions.

Major theme park set for Korea

A major new theme park and resort is being developed in South Korea.

Twentieth Century Fox World, which will be created by a partnership between Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Village Roadshow's theme parks division, will be located in Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone in Gyeongsangnam-do Province in the south of the country.

Initial plans for Twentieth Century Fox World Korea include a theme park spanning more than 75 acres of land. This will be part of a 700 plus acre leisure resort and development that will bring to life a fully immersive entertainment experience featuring some of Fox's most recognised film and television brands.

Operating partner Village Roadshow, one of the leading independent entertainment companies in the world, joins Twentieth Century Fox as a design and development consultant, and the manager of the studio theme park.

"We are signing the agreements and moving forward with plans for our global theme park project with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to develop a world-leading theme park and with Village Roadshow to operate the theme park," said Hong Joon-pyo, Governor of Gyeongsangnam-do.

"We will make every effort to successfully develop this global theme park through close cooperation with Fox and Village Roadshow.

"Once the theme park is completed, we expect more than 10 million foreign and local tourists will visit and the local economy will be boosted by creating 30,000 jobs, which is equivalent to attracting 100 manufacturing businesses."

Jeffrey Godsick, president of Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, added: "Korea provides a unique opportunity for an international theme park destination that will be incredibly attractive to both a thriving domestic consumer as well as a quickly growing tourist market from China, Japan and across Asia."

Diagon Alley opens in Orlando

Universal Orlando has opened its latest attraction zone, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley.

Located in the Universal Studios Florida theme park, Diagon Alley allows guests to experience the adventures of British author JK Rowling's Harry Potter in an all-new themed environment.

The new immersive zone has doubled the size of the land already found at Universal's Islands of Adventure, expanding the themed environment across both Universal theme parks.

The area includes shops, dining experiences and a new thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

This new multi-dimensional 3D thrill ride puts guests in the middle of the action, as they walk through the themed tunnels and encounter well-known Rowling characters Harry, Ron and Hermione before boarding a roller coaster.

Embed and LAI combine forces

Leisure & Allied Industries has announced a major reorganisation that will see Embed, LAI Games, and The Locker Network combined under a new umbrella company, Helix Leisure.

This combination will allow the Dallas-headquartered Helix Leisure companies to leverage their combined strengths and global reach, and a seamlessly integrated product offering, while preserving each of the individual brands.

"As out-of-home entertainment venues evolve towards delivering more sophisticated and spectacular experiences, Helix Leisure is uniquely positioned to fulfil the needs of operators in matching the high expectations of today's consumers," the group stated.

The company has a network of six full offices worldwide to provide in-region support and a comprehensive offering of cashless debit card systems, POS and redemption solutions, customer loyalty, booking and ticketing, electronic locker operations, and a full range of amusement and prize-vending machines.

Each of the individual companies will continue trading under their current brand names and retain dedicated and focused R&D teams.

Following the reorganisation, Leisure & Allied Industries will operate two fully independent divisions: its leading FEC chain, Timezone, and the Helix Leisure group. Current CEO of LAI Games and The Locker Network, Theo Sanders, will assume the role of CEO of Helix Leisure.

Adam Steinberg, executive director of Leisure & Allied Industries said: "In our increasingly connected world, there is a greater expectation for a seamless user experience.

"We feel that combining the LAI Group businesses that deliver products, services, and systems to the industry will enable us to create even greater value and meet those expectations."

Great Wolf opens New England location

Great Wolf Lodge, North America's largest family of indoor waterpark resorts, has celebrated the official grand opening of Great Wolf Lodge New England.

Located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, one hour west of Boston, the new family destination features more than 400 suites and a wide range of entertainment offerings dining options and amenities.

The centrepiece of the resort an 68,000sq.ft indoor waterpark, which comes compete with signature Great Wolf Lodge waterslides and attractions, including the six-storey, Howlin' Tornado, Slap Tail Pond wave pool and the River Canyon Run family raft ride.

The Wolf Tail water slide drops riders straight down 20ft before sending them out on a full 360-degree loop.

Exclusive to Great Wolf Lodge New England, Howlers Peak Ropes Course is something the entire family can experience together - high above everyone else. The 30ft tall Howlers Peak Ropes Course is the brand's first and only indoor ropes course experience.

More than 42 million families with children live within 300 miles of a Great Wolf Lodge.

"It's hard to beat a weekend getaway, within driving distance, where parents know they can entertain everyone in the family from morning to night," said Great Wolf Resorts CEO Kimberly Schaefer.

Free entry promo from Wild Wadi

Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai is offering free entry for guests every Monday throughout Ramadan, in return for charitable clothing donations to support the Beit Al Kheir Society, a non-profit organisation that provides assistance to underprivileged families in the UAE.

The offer is valid throughout Ramandan until Eid al-Fitr - 'the festivity of breaking the fast' - on July 27. Guests are granted free entry if they brought three pieces of clothing. Special containers were placed at the registration area.

Situated in the area of Jumeirah, next to the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Wild Wadi Waterpark is operated by Jumeirah International, a Dubai-based hotelier.