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Amusement parks business booming

Mirroring the all round growth of the economy, the amusement park sector is growing by 50% year on year to a Rs 3,500 crore industry. Lalatendu Mishra reports.

business Updated: Dec 30, 2007 21:44 IST
Lalatendu Mishra

Mirroring the all round growth of the economy, the amusement park sector is also growing by 50 per cent year on year to a Rs 3,500 crore industry, according to members of the trade. As disposable incomes of Indian households grow, the country would have an additional 500 amusement parks in the next 12 years, they said.

“The new amusement parks would have a combined investment of Rs 10,000 crore. Several top corporates and multinationals are already eyeing this sector with great interest,” said Arun Muchhala, chairman, Muchhala Magic Land and founder member of the Indian Association Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI).

Muchhala owns three leisure and amusement parks in western India, including the Suraj Water Park near Mumbai, a six-time Limca Book of Records holder. “Currently, there are about 100 amusement parks and 100 family entertainment centres (FECs) in India with an investment of around Rs 3,000 crore. There are 60 more being readied for commissioning with an investment of around Rs 600 crore,” he said, adding that the growth of the amusement park sector is crucial for the growth of tourism industry.

Currently, south India is witnessing the biggest investments with the largest number of amusement parks, water parks and family entertainment centers being set up. Considering an estimated 60 crore potential visitors to amusement parks in India per annum, global majors like Universal Studios, Sony and Disney are closely studying the market to set up their businesses here.

However, there are many concerns too for the industry. At a time when investments have gone up due to high land and equipment cost, admission tariffs have not risen to make the facilities accessible for the masses. Entertainment tax, which varies across states, is as high as 125 per cent in some states and acting as a major deterrent.

Some states like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and few more in the Northeast have begun offering incentives.