IAAPA’s Vice President of Asia Pacific Operations, June Ko, moderated a panel of industry leaders focused on what was new in the Asian market during the 2016 Asian Attractions Expo. Matthias Li (Ocean Park Hong Kong), Jim Pattison Jr.(Ripley Entertainment) and Dennis Spiegel (International Theme Park Services) spoke about each of their company’s involvement in the region and answered questions about where the market is headed.
As American companies enter China [as Ripley has done], we have to adjust to the culture and better understand the guest.”
InPark Editor Martin Palicki collected the following highlights and excerpts from the educational session.
Jim Pattison Jr.
Spiegel: Asia is ahead of where the US was in the 70s. There is a much larger population and land mass, so continued outpacing of the US is expected. The only difference is in the area of mobility. The US had significant highway infrastructure already in place. [Editor’s note: China is rapidly expanding its highway and high speed rail networks]
Pattison: There is a lot of interest in American entertainment and interest in what is happening in the US.
Li: Some local parks are very creative. Foreign IP is one route, but local folklore and local stories matter too.
Spiegel: IP is more important today than before. It requires capital reinvestment to drive repeat visitation. It’s an expensive game and you can’t stop, but if it is done right, you will earn a solid ROI.
Spiegel: Technology in attractions is more immersive and participatory. Also, it is making the experience easier for the guest.
Pattison: The fundamental basics of attractions haven’t changed, but technology has helped. The attractions business is about getting the whole family to communicate together.
Pattison: As American companies enter China [as Ripley has done], we have to adjust to the culture and better understand the guest. To help move that process along, we always find a partner in the country to work with right away. We also focus strategically on locations. Before launching an attraction in a new location, I always ask myself three questions: 1) Will they understand our product? 2) Will they have time to go? 3) What does a Big Mac cost? With those answers I have a good idea if the location is a match for our attractions.
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