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07 Apr 2021

Chinese attractions industry entering 'growth phase'
BY Tom Walker

China Leisure CEO Linda Dong said the entrance of Disney and Universal had seen other operators on the Chinese market 'up their quality'

China Leisure CEO Linda Dong said the entrance of Disney and Universal had seen other operators on the Chinese market 'up their quality'
photo: China Leisure

The Chinese visitor attractions market is set to bounce back from the pandemic with significant growth over the coming years.

Speaking to Attractions Management, Linda Dong, president of China Leisure, said the sector has improved its offer, thanks partly to the entry into it by large international players, and is now in a good position to expand further.

“I’m very excited for the future of this market – it’s definitely entering its growth phase," Dong said in an interview in the latest issue (1/2021) of Attractions Management (To read the entire interview, click here).

“Early on some of the projects opening in China weren’t up to scratch, but the entrance of Disney and Universal into the market has really encouraged theme parks and attractions to start upping their quality.

“I think we’ll see a wave of fresh demand for local attractions too.

“Beijing and Shanghai attractions are priced at a level that’s unattainable for the vast majority of Chinese consumers. There’s a whole market for lower price attractions at local and regional levels."

China Leisure itself recently opened The Nickelodeon Playtime Family Entertainment Centre at the Shenzhen OCT Happy Harbor Mall in Shenzhen, China.

The company worked with Nickelodeon Experience Design, Jack Rouse Associates and Forrec to create the 1,800sq m centre, which features more than a dozen attractions across five themed zones.

Dong added that the centre's success is a sign of the strength of the family entertainment sector, driven by an increased demand from Chinese families to experience things together.

“We see rapid growth in family entertainment spending in China; children’s entertainment centres are really gaining a lot of traction here,” Dong said.

“Malls are actively looking for experience-based tenants right now. F&B and children’s experiences are really driving footfall at the moment.”

"We’re also seeing a growing trend for immersive play in China.

“It’s not just about telling a really good story and having lots of themed lands and shows, it’s about allowing the guests to create their own stories. It’s up to the families and kids to decide how they want to use the space."

China Leisure is now working on a second project, another family entertainment centre – this time with Hasbro – which is due to open in Beijing in 2021.

• To read the full interview with Dong, click here for Issue 1/2021 of Attractions Management).



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