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Theme park could become tourist mecca

Update: June, 13/2012 - 08:31

HCM CITY— Investment in an entertainment park would lead to development in the real estate and tourism sectors, international experts have said.

"Demand for an entertainment park is huge in Viet Nam, but government policies haven't encouraged investors for the industry," said Pham Trung Luong, deputy head of the Tourism Development Research Institute and a representative for the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.

Luong spoke yesterday at the Viet Nam International Real Estate and Entertainment Connections conference and exhibition held in HCM City.

Gary Goddard, CEO of Goddard Corporation, who also spoke at the conference, pointed out that a successful project, first and foremost, required an excellent idea but also good design, services, marketing, target-market understanding, and knowledge of customer interests as well as the investment environment in a country.

The idea must be appropriate to the country, and the project should have the best location at a reasonable cost, he added.

"An entertainment park should be unique with enough differences to serve targeted customers with the best quality," he added.

For the last 20 years, the Asian entertainment park industry has grown strongly, and is now considered the top entertainment park centre in the world.

In 2010, the number of customers who visited Asian entertainment parks rose 7.3 per cent, much higher than 1.8 per cent in the US.

This year, 290 million people are expected to visit Asian entertainment parks, compared to 249 million in 2007.

At the conference, experts noted that Viet Nam did not have a major entertainment park for several reasons: unstable policies on land development, no incentives for entertainment park construction, cumbersome procedures, weak management abilities and poor-quality human resources for the industry.

"The Government, however, has approved master planning for 40 national tourism spots, and we welcome investors in entertainment park in those places," Luong added.

He said that some parks in the south could meet entertainment demand for local tourists, but not in the north.

"We also recognise that entertainment parks increase value for real estate and attract more both local and international tourists to Viet Nam," he added.

The conference discussed two investment models, including 100 per cent ownership and franchising.

Under the first, the investors would control all construction, including a shopping mall and residential areas, with total investment of US$20-50 million.

Under franchising, the investors would own the land and infrastructure, and then co-operate with others to build entertainment parks, shopping malls and residential areas.

In Viet Nam, the best model would be a mixture of the two, part ownership and part franchising, he said.

Because the park would require a huge land plot and must be located near an urban area, experts suggested that Viet Nam develop family entertainment centres with a focus on entertainment related to history, education, science, ecology, water recreation and agriculture.

The conference and exhibition, organised by the Viet Nam Real Estate Association and G4B company, ends today. —VNS

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