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Universal, Disney parks headed to India

Global leaders like Universal Studios, Disney, Sony and Ripley Entertainment are mulling investments of billions of dollars in India considering the vast potential in this region, reports Lalatendu Mishra.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2008 20:55 IST
Lalatendu Mishra

Global leaders in entertainment parks and attractions like Universal Studios, Disney, Sony and Ripley Entertainment are mulling investments of billions of dollars in India considering the vast potential in this region. Private equity funds were also aggressively dedicating resources towards this sector, said experts.

Robert E Masterson, chairman of Ripley Entertainment Inc, said the world’s leading players would set up bases in India within the next five years. “The opportunities and challenges are probably the greatest here. All leading players are quietly planning to enter India, a market where the rate of growth is five times of that of North America. India is the fastest growing region in the world,” Masterson said.

Of India’s 1.3 billion population, only 50 million visit amusement and theme parks now. “This is a very small percentage of the population. North America has a population of 300 million and all of them visit theme parks,” he added.

Masterson’s company, Ripley, which owns and operates 66 attractions in 10 countries and is known for its Guinness Book of World Records, Believe It or Not museums and many more attractions, has already invested $1 million in India. Ripley is setting up four attractions at Innovative Film City in Bangalore and these will be open to the public in April.

He said in the coming five years many of the world’s top attractions would be located in India though Singapore’s Sentosa Island would be the biggest amusement park in Asia.

According to Indian park owners the cost of setting up amusement parks is going up due to rising real estate prices and they need at least 1 million visitors annually to recover costs.