China’s giant Wanda group this week opened a major theme park in Yunnan province, South West China.
Construction of the Wanda Xishuangbanna International Resort took four years and cost some $2.5 billion (RMB16 billion).
The attraction which extends over 5.3 square kilometers, is the first outdoor park to be built by Wanda, which has expanded from commercial property into cinema. It is the group’s third major cultural tourism project after the Han Theater and a massive indoor theme park in Wuhan.
The resort, which makes much of ‘Dai’ regional culture, includes a world-class outdoor theme park, a first-class international stage show, luxury resort hotels, a lakeside bar street, a Wanda Plaza, and the only first-rate international hospital in Xishuangbanna.
The park has five lands and 27 recreational facilities including a roller coaster that is 45 metres high and runs through a rain forest.
“Tourism is a key developing industry in Wanda’s fourth transformation, and we intend to become the largest travel company around the world, with 200 million tourists and realize a revenue of RMB100 billion (US$15.5 billion) within five years,” said Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin at the opening ceremony.
The park’s 1,200-seater Dai Theater was designed by the late British architect Mark Fisher with a stage show orchestrated by Franco Dragone, a pairing previously used by Wanda at the Han Theater. Fisher also designed the Automobile Museum at Wanda’s yet to open Qingdao Movie Metropolis.
Disney and DreamWorks Animation are involved in major theme parks near Shanghai that are expected to open in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Universal recently firmed up plans to open a park near Beijing in 2019. But the U.S. conglomerates do not have the field to themselves. A number of other Chinese companies are developing parks which cater to the growing demand for leisure, entertainment and travel.