Saturday, 31 Jan, 2015

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This Week's News

Five-star hotel for PortAventura

To mark its 20th Anniversary, PortAventura has moved into the luxury market by launching Mansión de Lucy - the Spanish resort's first five-star hotel.

The defining trait of this boutique hotel is its interior design, which transports guests to an opulent, 19th century-style American mansion.

The PortAventura architecture team has constructed Mansión de Lucy to have the same character as the first 'Far West' mansions that were built with the fortunes of successful railroad, oil and gold mining pioneers.

The result of this attention to detail can also be seen in the hotel's reception area, restaurant and comfortable rooms.

Hotel Mansión de Lucy has 28 deluxe superior rooms and two suites. It offers a full range of luxury hotel features including private hotel entrance, reception and lobby bar, personal concierge, porter service, exclusive à la carte restaurants, spa, gym and express premium wristbands for easier access to the PortAventura theme park.

The resort's Hotel Gold River has also been expanded with the addition of a new section, the Callaghan Building, containing 78 deluxe rooms.

Sergio Feder, president of the executive committee at PortAventura, said: "The new five-star hotel Mansión de Lucy and the Callaghan Building expansion are part of a strong investment plan undertaken over the past five years.

"Already hosting four million visitors the plans will further develop PortAventura as a one-of-a-kind in Europe, with a high quality range of products and services."

Feder added: "The development of PortAventura's hotel range is part of our strategy to strengthen our international standing. The resort aims to become one of Europe's best family leisure destinations."

Hotel Mansión de Lucy will open on April 2. The combined total investment in the projects was over €10m ($11.3m).

Last chance to register for CAE

There are less than two months until the 2015 edition of China Attractions Expo (CAE), which takes place in Beijing on March 18-20.

More than 270 of the world's leading suppliers and manufacturers of amusement and leisure products have already confirmed they will exhibit at CAE this year, with more than 30 companies coming from outside of China, including Zamperla, B&M, Dream Park, Haystack, Huss, Intamin, KCC, Vekoma, M&V, Maurer, Moser, OKE, PDC, Proslide, Polin, Whitewater West, S&S, Sanderson, Seven Lamb, SEP, Simtec, ThemeTech, Triotech, World Fun Attractions, WTI, Xtrem Aventures and Zierer.

Due to increased demand, the organisers of the show has expanded CAE 2015 to occupy five halls spanning a total of 27,000sq.m.

This will be the last opportunity to join in the largest amusement and attractions event in China at the beginning of 2015 and meet the most potential buyers from China and Asia.

The organisers will also host the China Cultural Tourism Industry Summit Forum on March 16-17.

If you would like to take part in this growing attractions show in China and are interested in the summit, please click here or email Lily ( for further details.

Serco employs CrowdControl

Serco Leisure, operator of more than 60 leisure facilities in the UK, is utilising CrowdControlHQ's social media risk management and compliance platform as a customer engagement and brand management tool.

Since installing CrowdControlHQ, Serco said it has built a secure social media framework that complies with UK law and has totally transformed the organisation's approach to marketing.

The solution has realised a series of demonstrable business benefits with one contract pre-selling 50% of its membership through online and social media channels prior to opening.

Chris Puszczynski-Phelps, digital media manager at Serco Leisure said: "Social media is critical to the leisure industry and we knew from the outset that the social space was vital to our future success.

"We selected CrowdControlHQ because the company shared our dynamism and could provide the right technology to underpin an effective social media marketing strategy."

Foxton Locks comes back to life

Visitors to Foxton Locks in Leicestershire, UK, will once again be able to see the boats using the old Inclined Plane, albeit virtually, through the development of an Augmented Reality (AR) app.

This innovative idea is part of a wider redevelopment of Foxton Locks and is designed to not only bring the Inclined Plane back to life, but also to engage, educate and inspire visitors of all ages with a new museum experience integrated with the existing Foxton Locks Trail.

When it goes live at Easter 2015, the project will create a new visitor experience at Foxton Canal Museum as well as boosting ticket revenues and visitor spend.

Virtual reality specialist Holovis will be developing and delivering the AR app as well as a new curved screen theatre which will immerse visitors into history of the locks and an interactive experience for children and families, challenging them to simulate the stoking of the boiler to drive the massive boat lift.

The project began on the Holovis Innovation Campus in nearby Lutterworth, where a 3D model of the Inclined Plane is being created in augmented reality.

Using a fiducial marker system at Foxton Locks, visitors will be able to use their smart phones and tablets to view the Inclined Plane working, all in the exact position barges would have made their actual journeys and all in real time.

Drayton Manor launches season pass

Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire, UK, has launched a new season pass that provides unlimited admission for the entire 2015 season.

"Priced at just £60 ($90) each, or £30 ($45) for children aged two to three, not only does the pass provide unlimited fun for the whole family, but great value for money being the most competitively priced season pass of the top UK family theme park attractions for the 2015 season," the park said.

In addition, season pass holders are also privy to exclusive discounts throughout the attraction, such as 20% off retail and catering, including the park's family and hotel restaurants, free parking and 10 friends and family vouchers, which allow one person per season pass holder to enter the park at any one time for just £15 ($22.50).

Expansion for HK Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland has broken ground on its third hotel, marking another milestone in the continued development of the resort as a world-class travel and entertainment destination.

Slated to open in early 2017, Disney Explorers Lodge will feature 750 rooms and four distinct gardens based on cultures from around the globe, along with new themed restaurants, a shop and a large outdoor swimming pool.

"This expansion is key to continuing the resort's growth and momentum, and it underscores The Walt Disney Company's commitment to Hong Kong," said Bill Ernest, managing director of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

"This project, along with other upcoming expansion projects and new offerings such as the all-new themed area based on the popular Iron Man franchise, will continue to add to the appeal of Hong Kong Disneyland."

China project for Goddard

The Goddard Group has announced it will design Haichang Group's Polar Ocean World in Shanghai, China.

In addition to conceptualising and master planning the project, California-based Goddard Group is currently working with Haichang on the park's subsequent design phases.

Set to open in 2017, Polar Ocean World is one of the key elements of the Shanghai government's five-year development plan for the tourism industry.  

It will include a world-class marine theme park, a themed resort hotel and commercial facilities on a 300,000sq.m site.

Paramount plans move forward

The Paramount London theme park development has taken a major step forward, after developer London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) signed a purchase agreement for a 1,570sq.m parcel of land in north Kent, UK.

"With this agreement in place, the vision for north Kent as the home of a nationally significant, multi-billion pound entertainment resort employing thousands of people is moving closer to becoming a reality," said LRCH executive director David Testa.

Set to open in 2020, and incorporating famous BBC brands, Paramount London Entertainment Resort will feature a theme park, waterpark, sports facilities, entertainment and 5,000 hotel rooms.

New titles from Niceberg

Niceberg Studios Distribution, the Belgium-based developer of media content for rides and attractions, has released two new 4D ride movies: Fairy Balloon Ride and Journey to the West.

Fairy Balloon Ride takes visitors on a journey in a turbo-charged hot air balloon, over mountains and in caves. Complementing this seasonally themed title, Journey to the West is a hazardous fantasy adventure.

"The films are ready at the perfect time to match the growing demand for fairy tale and magic-themed ride films." Said Thibaut de Lestré, sales manager at Niceberg Studios.

"Fairy Balloon Ride has a winter touch that makes it a fresh seasonal film for Christmas, and Journey to the West is a crazy and fun space adventure that kids will enjoy all year around."

Both stereoscopic 4D films are compatible with all major simulators brands.

Legoland unveils Heartlake City

Legoland Florida is set for further expansion this year, after operator Merlin Entertainments has announced plans to open a new area at the US resort.

Set to open its doors this summer, Heartlake City will be a colourful and vibrant new land offering adventures for all ages, according to Adrian Jones, general manager at the Florida facility.

"The centrepieces will include a fantastic horse-themed disc coaster and an interactive show, as well as new shops inside Heartlake Mall," he said.

"Between our constant expansion, the new Legoland Hotel opening in May and the Water Park re-opening in March, Legoland Florida Resort is definitely a multi-day attraction."