Theme parks boost winter attractions

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Visitors take selfies under heavy snow at the Universal Beijing Resort in November. [Photo/Xinhua]

Special events, festival decorations to brighten up the slower season

As the holiday season approaches, international and national theme parks and resorts have prepared to compete to attract more visitors in hopes of mitigating the impact of the cold weather. This year.

Resort operators in northern and eastern China have added winter attractions and events, including festival decorations, moved indoor shows, and held promotions for their plush themed toys.

Universal Beijing Resort, which first opened in September, unveiled its first winter experience for visitors from December 3 to January 8, offering winter snacks, hot drinks and more than 100 types of themed products.

Immersive entertainment shows are part of its winter vacation experience. They provide the opportunity to meet characters from winter-themed films, the station said.

The station, which has about half of its rides outdoors, has added more heating facilities for visitors who queue up. Hot water and other drinks are also available to keep visitors warm. On freezing cold days, outdoor shows and programs move indoors, said Doug Akers, vice president of park operations at the resort.

Station officials said they were increasing the maintenance of the rides to ensure safety during the winter. The resort installed additional heaters to reduce the impact of cold on the roller coaster.

Such precautions have helped attract more visitors during the off-season. “The park was full of tourists the day I visited, despite the low temperatures,” said Li Xin, 34, who visited Universal on November 5.

Li purchased a winter and spring recreation package, which allows multiple entries for more than six months. This was his fifth visit to the Chinese capital’s first international theme park.

“I went there to take more photos with the giant Christmas trees and other holiday decorations,” she said.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Disney Resort kicked off its winter season with what the company has described as traditions and enchanting surprises.

Officials said that from November 25 to January 3, the resort turned into a frozen fairyland featuring holiday entertainment and seasonal decor as part of the resort’s fifth anniversary celebration. Included are sculptures using the theme from the hit movie Frozen and a cheerful new social wall for selfies.

The growing and diversifying domestic travel market in China is not saturated and still has room to accommodate new parks, with more varieties in terms of size, themes and content, said Jiang Yiyi, professor. recreational sports at Beijing Sports University.

“The entry and expansion of international amusement park and resort players has enhanced the development and quality of the national tourism industry, contributing to the emergence of local theme park brands, to modernization of operations, services and facilities in this sector and more training for entertainment talent, ”she said.

Lin Huanjie, dean of the China Theme Park Research Institute, said that the focus of theme parks in China has now shifted to providing immersive experiences rather than just trips. approval. Differentiation between stations has been important in increasing attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the 2021 Chinese Theme Park Assessment Report produced by the China Theme Park Research Institute, Shanghai Disney Resort ranked first in terms of ratings based on park size, attractions and dynamics. of development. Then come the national brands, including three parks in the province of Guangdong (Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, Window of the World and Splendid China in Shenzhen) and Happy Valley in Beijing. Universal has not been rated since it opened recently.

The report valued 64 large parks, each representing an investment of more than 1.5 billion yuan ($ 235.2 million). At the end of 2019, there were 339 theme parks in China. Of these, 25 percent operated at a loss, 22 percent broke even and 53 percent made a profit, according to the report.

Even though COVID-19 had an effect on attendance, theme parks in first and second-tier cities quickly recovered and drew more of their income from local visitors, according to the report.

AECOM, a US-based infrastructure consultancy, said that in the Asia-Pacific region, the top 20 theme parks saw visitor numbers drop by 58% overall in 2020, but China added nearly 20 theme parks that year. Pipeline projects are mainly concentrated in the most economically developed regions of southern and eastern China.


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