(Yicai Global) Feb. 20 -- The recently appointed chief executive officer of Merlin Entertainments, which is building three Legoland Resorts in China, has put a visit to the country at the top of his agenda indicating that the British leisure giant is upbeat about the world’s second biggest market for theme parks.
Scott O’Neil, who took the helm in November last year, will visit China together with a team of senior executives in April, Chen Jie, general manager at the under-construction Legoland Shanghai Resort, told Yicai Global yesterday.
No doubt O’Neil will be eager to review progress of the three Legoland Resorts being built in Shanghai, Shenzhen in southern Guangdong province and in southwestern Sichuan province, as well as to discuss future projects.
Construction of the Shanghai Legoland resort began last year and is making good progress thanks to the strong support of the municipal government, Chen said. The agreement was first inked at the third China International Import Expo in 2020 and the concept unveiled at the fifth CIIE last year. It should open in 2024.
Merlin, which is the world’s second biggest entertainment firm behind The Walt Disney Company, was one of the first international groups to open themed amusement complexes in China, starting with the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Shanghai in 2006. Over the following decade, the Dorset-based company has introduced another six trademarks, including Peppa Pig and Legoland, across six cities.
Even during Covid-19, Chinese people were still very enthusiastic about going to amusement parks which meant that China’s theme park sector still did good business, enabling the country to maintain its status in the global market, Chen said. As a result, operators are increasing their investment and planning to bring in new attractions, she added.
Editors：Shi Yi, Kim Taylor