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Richard

Chief Executive named for Village Roadshow's international expansion

8 posts in this topic

Article link: http://www.roller-coaster.com.au/article.php?aid=107 This article's been up for a few days on the site but hasn't yet been brought up in the forums. There are a few things which are quite interesting to me about this story. Village Theme Parks (the new name of WVTP following the recent buyout) have recruited a complete outsider to the tourism industry - let alone the theme park industry - to steer these projects. I'm not 100% convinced someone whose experience lies in putting on spectacular once-off events (which more often than not have been financial losses by their very nature) can necessarily be capable of creating and operating theme parks designed for long-term success and viability. Furthermore, I don't believe that international expansion on the scope that we are talking is well suited to either the European or the Asian markets. Greece seems to me to have been selected out of convenience. I'm really not sure that choosing a location for a theme park seemingly because the newly appointed boss as experience and contacts in that country is the wisest thing to do. Both markets are within a few hours flight of Disney theme parks, which has been a huge benefit to them in Australia. The budgets that have been mentioned in the past (well under AUD$200 million) will not cut it against multi-billion dollar Disney parks. Within each market, flights to other countries are the equivalent of domestic flights in Australia. It just seems to be a bit ill-conceived and not taking the nature of each market fully into account. What I find ironic is that if Disney did build a park in Australia, you can bet it wouldn't be without our Gold Coast parks (regardless of where it were built) crying foul. Meanwhile they seem happy to jump into markets currently held strongly by Disney (we're talking destination parks, not regional). Village Theme Parks is a relative newcomer to the global theme park industry. They're still very much tweaking their models with our theme parks - they've far from got it perfect at home (certainly not to the extent of other global players), so I'm not sure why there's such a hurry to take the (underdone) concepts overseas. I'd be much happier to see our parks reach their full potential, than water down the development and strategic planning of our parks by trying to tweak three separate parks in three very different parks.

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Its interesting to hear them talk about building more Movieworld parks once again. One thing I want to know is what made Warner Brothers sell Movieworld in Germany, and what Village knows about that parks books that makes them feel as if Movieworld parks are a good model. Another point which I feel has been lost over time: Movieworld Germany was to some extent "selected out of convenience" as before Movieworld was built there was a movie themed park on that site which lasted all of one season. One thing I can't help but feel though is whatever they do, a hefty chunk of that AU$200million had want to be on rides. Problem is that the scale of European parks is much grander then Australian parks, so much so that even if you recreated the all the rides at MW in Athens, it'd probably even then be too small, particually to compete with Disney and the parks in neighbouring countries. Now obviously you aren't going to be able to build a park identical to MW for $200mill, so they'd want to have something very creative up their sleve, or at least be very carefull about what rides to take over (how about Scooby AND Gremlins?). I know, I sound rather pessimistic, but I'm far from it, just I think this isn't going to be a "walk in, build a park let the profits roll in" sort of thing. You have to trust that they've put in allot of research into this, afterall Village can't afford to sink $200million into a park that is anything but a 'blockbuster'. They're already $250million in debt from buying out WB's share of the parks don't forget. As for the Asian market, why bother building a $200million Movieworld when a $5million Paradise Country would probably do just as well?

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I read this article the other day on the frontpage and It caught my eye strangely enough because after reading into it I realised I had visited Athens and the Warner Bros. Park in Spain. Let me say that the Spain MovieWorld is a large scale version of our Australian one, and it sure has some nice meaty attractions to make it attractive to people over Disney in Paris. I believe the budget for that park though was around $400million dollars, and the $200million said to be invested in overseas parks sure isn't much when you compare it to Spain's park in the grand scheme of things. It simply does not have the branding nor the charm of a Disney park. I fail to see why Village Theme Parks hasn't considered Sydney as a possible location. It makes sense after all, though it seems to be a stale market no-one wants to consider since the clourse of Australia's Wonderland. That's just my thoughts, however I completely agree with Joz and Richard on this.

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I have to agree that $200 million won't go far (for a non-Australian park). They should be investing those funds to improve the domestic market (buy new rides/attractions & expansion of MW Gold Coast), before trying to setup anything overseas. Another example for the domestic market: any news on WnW Sunshine Coast? (what's the story so far, has ground broken yet?)

Edited by taronga

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I fail to see why Village Theme Parks hasn't considered Sydney as a possible location
Exactly! Unfortunately Wonderland and Sunway appear to have done some damage to the reputation of the leisure/amusement market in Sydney. However, most of us know the real situation behind Wonderland's closure. Regardless of Sunway's ficticious press releases, relative to the parks absolute minimum capital expenditure in the last few years it was certainly getting good numbers through the gates. The demand for leisure/amusement in Sydney has now been proven with the reopening of Luna Park. The amusement park itself is going great guns and that is with less rides than it ever had in its previous incarnations. It opened its gates in 2004 and was an instant success, so much so that it exceeded the Directors forecasts. 2 and a bit years later and with no upgrading or expenditure on the fun park it still appears to be getting good numbers. I wonder if Village or Macq Leisure have considered Sydney at all? Even a waterpark could go down well

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I almost wonder if part of the reason is beacuse Village isn't wanting to part from their park models they already have. I mean it'd be pretty stuipid to build a Movieworld or Seaworld in Sydney so it'd have to be something they don't have much/any experience in. I don't doubt they could pull off a different style park, but they seem to want to stick with what they know. You'll notice that the parks they have talked building O/Ss are new SWs, MWs and in the case of the Sunshine Coast, another WnW rather then a new style of park.

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