Saturday, 25 Apr, 2015

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Legoland Waterpark set for Dubai

Already making waves across the globe with the recent announcements of its upcoming attractions, Dubai Parks and Resorts (DPR), in conjunction with UK-based Merlin Entertainments, has unveiled the latest addition to its line up.  

Legoland Waterpark will be an exciting new addition to the wider Legoland Dubai theme park, which is already in development at the sprawling, mixed-use DPR resort.

Aimed at children aged two to 12, the new waterpark will feature some of Legoland's most popular water attractions, including giant wave pool; the popular Build-a-Raft River, where guests can design and build their own customised raft; and the interactive Imagination Station, which lets children construct bridges, dams and cities and test their designs against the flow of water.

Commenting on the plans for the Legoland Waterpark, Raed Al Nuaimi, CEO of DPR, said: "We are committed to offering unforgettable experiences for guests of all ages at Dubai Parks and Resorts.

"With the addition of the Legoland Waterpark to our existing offering, we will now have a destination that boasts six major parks which together have over 100 rides and attractions."

Dubai Parks and Resorts is set to be the Middle East's largest multi-themed leisure and entertainment destination when it opens in October 2016.

In addition to Legoland Dubai, the resort will also comprise Motiongate Dubai, and Bollywood Parks Dubai - all connected by Riverland Dubai, a unique retail, dining and entertainment walkway.

With a projected target of over 6.7 million ticketed visits in 2017, its first full year of operation, Dubai Parks and Resorts is taking a major step toward positioning the UAE as a major global tourist destination and fulfilling Dubai's vision of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020.

Continued growth for Six Flags

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world's largest regional theme park company, has reported a 16 per cent growth in revenue to $85m for the first quarter of 2015.

"Our 2015 season is off to an excellent start with record-high guest satisfaction scores, record-high profitability, and double-digit improvements in all key performance metrics," said Jim Reid-Anderson, chairman, president and CEO of Six Flags.

"We remain intently focused on building shareholder value by delivering an unprecedented sixth year in a row of record financial performance in 2015, and working toward achieving our long-term financial target of $600m of modified EBITDA by 2017."

Aquario waterpark opens in Russia

Aquario Indoor Aquapark, the largest of its kind in the Urals region of Russia, opened its doors on April 10.

Guests to Aquario Aquapark lined up early to be among the first to enjoy the 8,000s.qm indoor waterpark.

The main attractions for thrill-seekers are the facility's seven waterslides, though families were eager to share the amusements of five toddler-sized attractions with their children.

Entering the facility, guests are greeted by the sight of rolling crests of water in the wave pool. Next to it, a larger family pool straddles a spa.

The most daring visitors to Aquario, however, can look to the thrills of a variety of high-speed waterslides designed and installed by Polin Waterparks.

The waterpark range of Polin slides includes the high Looping Rocket; the Multisurf mat-racing slide; a Freefall slide; a Wave Slide; Body Slide; and super-fast Space Hole.

"Indoor waterparks like Aquario provide an opportunity for people to have fun together no matter what the weather conditions," said Selim Doguoglu, general manager of Polin's Russian office.

"Unlike outdoor parks, the weather is always perfect inside Aquario. That means that guests find value at Aquario year-round, rain or shine, cold weather or in the heat of the sun."

Untapped opportunities for UK

Over 65s added £37bn ($55bn) to the UK economy through spending on the hospitality and leisure sector over the last year, new research indicates.

According to Barclays, the international financial services group, the contribution from seniors equates to over a third more than the average consumer and 27% higher than the 35-45 year olds who are the second biggest spending generation.
Despite this, the study reveals that the UK's hospitality and leisure sector has missed out on at least a further £16bn ($24bn) in additional revenues by underestimating the spending power of the older generation in the last year.

"Just five per cent of businesses within the sector see the 'overlooked generation' - those aged 65 and over - as the most important demographic in terms of sales and revenue for their company," Barclays stated.

"In fact only one in five businesses (22%) ranked over 65s in their top three target age groups. While a significant number of hotel and travel businesses are alert to the fact that the over 65s spend more per customer than any other group, more than a third of businesses in the sector perceive 34-44 year olds as their priority target market, despite these consumers spending less money on average. "

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, added: "It is clear from the report that the over 65 age group is a huge and untapped opportunity for the hospitality and leisure sector with the UK."

Thinkwell promotes Dave Cobb

Thinkwell Group, the California-based experience design and production agency specialising in the creation of theme parks, attractions and live shows around the world, has announced the promotion of Dave Cobb to vice president of creative development.

Cobb joined the company in 2007, coming from Paramount Parks as a creative director.

He has worked on many creative developments over the past eight years, including some of the largest projects at Thinkwell, such as Monkey Kingdom theme park in China; confidential projects for Warner Bros; a television animation series development for a major US cable network; Jurassic Dream Daqing in China; and a touring exhibition for the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

"Dave is an incredible talent, is recognised throughout the industry as a thought leader, and continues to advocate for innovative guest experiences around the world," said Craig Hanna, chief creative officer at Thinkwell.

Closing the DEAL

The 2015 edition of the Dubai Entertainment, Amusement and Leisure Show (DEAL) closed its doors yesterday (April 16), with the event welcoming more than 7,000 trade visitors.

According to organiser International Expo Consults (IEC), the 21st edition of DEAL was the largest to date, with more than 300 exhibitors taking part in the three-day event.

"Consumer preferences are gliding towards adrenalin-pumping rides, interactive games, simulation games, redemption games and high-tech video games, among others," said Sharif Rahman, CEO of International Expo Consults.

"We are confident that the amusement industry in the region is heading in the right direction. Family entertainment centres are key service anchors that support the many retail developments within the Middle East.

DEAL 2015 brought in innovators from around the world, including Belgium, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, the UK, France, Turkey, and US.

A full show report will appear in the May issue of InterPark International.

SkyScreamer soars at Six Flags

Six Flags Mexico has officially launched SkyScreamer - a high-flying, adrenaline-packed swing attraction.

Developed by the Ride Entertainment Group, the 32-seat SkyScreamer reaches speeds of 40mph and a height of 240ft, making it the tallest attraction at Six Flags Mexico, which is located on the outskirts of Mexico City.

"We continue to have a great working relationship with Six Flags, and this park in particular," said Adam Sandy, chief business development officer for the Ride Entertainment Group.

Triotech expands global team

Following its rapid development and major projects around the world, Triotech has announced a range of key promotions and additions to its team.

Weitao Liu has been promoted to managing director of Triotech's China operations. He will now be responsible for growing the organisation from its base in Beijing.

Vincent Brie, meanwhile, recently joined Triotech as vice president of site operations. He will be further expanding the company's partnerships with local operators as well as developing new sites where the company intends to deploy its immersive experiences in various parts of the world.

Harley Bostock joins Triotech to lead the development of its business in the Asia-Pacific region, exclusive of China, while Joseph Joy recently joined the group to further its presence in the US market.

Sphere opens at Crystal Aura

The Crystal Aura Beach Resort and Spa in Kemer, Turkey, has installed a variety of world-class waterpark attractions developed by Polin.

Owned by the Kilit Group, the operators of Crystal Aura worked with Polin - which had also designed and installed waterparks at sister properties Crystal Sunset and Crystal Waterworld - to identify the perfect attractions to feature at the resort.

Taking centre stage in the new waterpark area is Polin's Sphere waterslide. The two-person slide begins with a steep drop, and the high-speed journey takes travellers on a dizzying ride around the interior of one sphere before taking them through a tunnel slide to the next sphere.

Crystal Aura also chose several other Polin attractions to feature in its new waterpark, including an Aquatube, Black Hole and Big Hole.

Davies takes Interlink role

Amusement ride supplier Interlink has announced the appointment of John Davies as commercial director.

Davies has been in the amusement park and visitor attraction industry for 26 years, and brings with him a wealth of knowledge gained from his worldwide experience within the industry.

Interlink, which was founded more than 30 years ago, designs, manufactures and supplies a wide range of water rides, including log flumes, rapid rivers and raft rides, water battle, panoramic towers and transport systems, in addition to roller coasters.  

The company has supplied over 100 rides in 28 countries around the world and recent installations have included a Flume Ride at Daftö Resort in Sweden and a Super Flume Ride at Powerpark in Finland.

John Hudd, Interlink managing director, said "I have known John since he first joined the industry and we are pleased to welcome him to our company and we further welcome the market knowledge and experience he is able to bring on board to help expand company growth in all markets."