More theme parks heading to Malaysia


KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7, 2015: 

Within the tourism industry, Malaysia is often known as the theme parks capital of Southeast Asia.

Apart from being another achievement Malaysians can be proud of, the bigger advantage is we don’t have to travel overseas or burn deep holes in our pocket to experience thrilling and fun rides.

While many are already familiar with water theme parks operated by local firms, the first major foreign name to make its way here was Merlin Entertainment – making Malaysia home to Asia’s first Legoland theme park, which opened in September 2012 in Nusajaya, Johor.

Next year, it will also house the first Twentieth Century Fox’s amusement park at Resorts World Genting – just about an hour away from the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur.

The US$300 million (RM1.29 billion) park, in partnership with casino conglomerate Genting Malaysia Bhd, will bring in characters we all love – from Ice Age, Planet of the Apes, Alien vs Predator and Rio, to name a few.

Another to be opened soon is Sunway Group’s Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon at Sunway. The RM100 million project, a collaboration between Sunway and the US cable TV network will be Nickelodeon’s first themed land in Asia.

Malaysians will get to meet the famous Spongebob SquarePants and his friends as well as people’s favourite turtles – Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello andMichaelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – at our own shores instead of having to go all the way to Orlando, Florida.

There are a few other theme parks slated to open doors to the public in the next few years.

These include an animation theme park in Ipoh – a collaboration project between Perak Corp Bhd, Australia’s Sanderson Group International and DreamWorks – as well as Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd ocean splash water park and ocean quest marine park in Desaru, Johor.

Theme parks not only provide an avenue for Malaysians – young and old – to enjoy and take a short break but it also contributes a lot to the country’s economy in terms of tourism.

In the past decade, the country has invested heavily in tourism to make itself as a preferred Asean destination.

It has seen a rise in tourist numbers since 1998 and last year itself, it has registered 27.44 million tourist arrivals, nearly 1.8 million more than 2013, despite several tragedies involving both Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.

Although Malaysia has more to offer instead of theme parks – it is a shopping and food haven in Asean – the opening of more high-credible amusement parks will help ensure more tourists will keep flowing here for years to come.

With such a growing potential, would it be too much to hope that perhaps The Walt Disney Company should consider opening Disney World or Disney Land here?

Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird told the media in India that theme park investments for the company requires massive support infrastructures such as airports, power supply and roads.

Well, Malaysia has all those in place – strong infrastructure, transportation and communication developments – as well as vast space of land and high numbers of local and international visitors.

Having a Disney-themed park here would further strengthen the country’s status as the theme park capital in Southeast Asia. It will also boost its tourism industry as well as other sectors related to it.

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