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T #47• volume 9, issue 2

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market report: turkey

InPark interviews Sohret Pakis, Marketing Manager for Polin • edited by Judith Rubin

OPS stands for operations

the importance of care and maintenance of attractions • by Jeremy Railton

keys to success

the increase of international projects means new strategies • by Martin Palicki

international expos

the state of the art in 2013 • by Gordon Linden

TEA heads to Asia

InPark interviews Chris Conte, interim president of TEA’s new Asian division • by Martin Palicki

singapore & malaysia

new attractions and tourism thrive in Singapore and Malaysia • by Judith Rubin

the road to China

a strong local presence leads to success in Asia • by George Walker

sign here

navigating the world of contracts in China • by Wendy Heimann-Nunes, Esq.

In this issue, we look to address some of those concerns (contracting and credits), provide institutional resources (TEA, IAAPA), and delve into the myriad of opportunities available around the globe, and not just in the expected hot spots. Despite all the technology advances, I find it somewhat surprising that there is still an “analog” element at play here. Doing business in China, for example, is inordinately more complicated without boots on the ground in China. We’ve tapped into some key companies like FUNA and BRC to help explain what is required to be successful overseas. Of course, the story doesn’t end here. As the market continues to grow, InPark will grow also, covering the international scene in every issue and online. Be sure to grab hard copies of the magazine at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo in Singapore and Noppen’s Theme Park Expansion Summit in Shanghai. And keep earning those frequent flier miles. -Martin Palicki

the fine print

practical guidelines for protecting your project credits • by Bob Rogers


international brands, local audiences

the Wet’n’Wild & Merlin Entertainments approach to the Sydney attractions market • by Michael Reid

photo essay: spectacle

the nighttime spectacular as seen by ECA2

staff & contributors EDITOR Martin Palicki CO-EDITOR Judith Rubin CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Joe Kleiman Mitch Rily Kim Rily DESIGN mcp, llc

his may be our official annual International issue, but really every issue has an international flavor. So much of the economic engine that is driving our themed attraction industry is happening overseas. New developers and designers are shaping attractions in Asia, Australia and South America. Thankfully, the stable of North American and European companies also are involved in this global attraction expansion. But it is an expansion that comes with challenges.

CONTRIBUTORS Wendy Heimann-Nunes Gordon Linden Jeremy Railton Michael Reid Bob Rogers George Walker SALES Martin Palicki

InPark Magazine (ISSN 1553-1767) is published five times a year by Martin Chronicles Publishing, LLC. 2349 E Ohio Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207. Shipping address: 2349 E Ohio Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207. Phone: 262-412-7107. Fax: 414-377-0769. Printing by Crescent Printing in Onalaska, Wisconsin Contents © 2013 InPark Magazine. All rights reserved. Nothing in the magazine may be reproduced or used in any manner without the prior written permission of the magazine. InPark Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations. Such material must be accompanied by a self-adressed and stamped envelope to be returned. Postmaster: Send address changes to InPark Magazine 2349 E Ohio Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207. Subscriptions are available annually for $30 per year ($40 international). Opinions expressed in editorial matter are not necessarily those of InPark Magazine or its publishers, Martin Chronicles Publishing, LLC.

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cover Cover design by Stefan Lawrence of Stefan Rules Editor’s Photo credit: David Lauersdorf

market report: turkey InPark interviews Sohret Pakis, Marketing Manager for Polin

Sohret Pakis

Edited by Judith Rubin Turkish waterslide company Polin (rhymes with the song “Jolene”) is known for their thrilling themed slides, but often overlooked is their home country of Turkey. Polin’s marketing manager, Sohret Pakis, reports on the opportunities for the entire attractions industry in this popular country that straddles Europe and Asia (based on a report given by Pakis at the 2012 EAS in Berlin). Tell us about how Turkey’s visitor demographics and its economy are supporting domestic and international leisure tourism. The domestic market is very large. Turkey has a population of about 75 million people; half are under 30 years of age, and most are welleducated. The labor force stands at about 27 million. There are 51 million credit-card users, 50 million Internet users and 65 million mobilephone subscribers. The government is a Republican parliamentary democracy. Since 2002 the economy has grown steadily. Between 2002-2011, annual real GDP grew 5.2%. Geographically, Turkey is easily accessible by 1.5 billion customers in Europe, Eurasia, the ME and NA. In 2011, Turkey was visited by 31.5 million tourists in 2011 and received $23 billion (US dollars) of tourism revenue. Turkey is very popular among German, Russian and British tourists who, put together, comprise

more than 1/3 of the tourists who visit Turkey every year – from Germany, about 5 million tourists, from Russia about 4 million, and from Britain about 2.5 million. The top three entry ports are Antalya, Istanbul and Mugla, in that order. Your company specializes in waterparks. Is the waterpark industry strong in Turkey? In Turkey, much of the growth in waterparks is tied to the growth of the resort market, fed by increasing numbers of tourists, most of whom visit the coastal regions. Many of those coastal resorts have incorporated large waterparks open only to their guests. For example, in Antalya, every resort - and I mean every single resort has its own waterpark. Turkey has 93 good-sized (5 waterslides or more) outdoor waterparks. 51 are standalone and 42 are in resorts. Those 93 include Turkey’s very first resort waterpark, built in 1988, and its first standalone waterpark, built in 1993. Based on past growth, by 2023, we are projecting a total of 283 waterparks in Turkey – nearly 200 new water parks in the course of the next 10 years! Where waterparks in Turkey welcomed 14 million visits in 2012, by 2023 (the year Turkey will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic) that number is expected to surge to 41 million.

What are some outstanding waterparks in Turkey? Aquafantasy Waterpark in Selcuk, Izmir, in the Aegean part of Turkey, is said to be the top destination in the area, which has proximity to the sea and the ruins at Ephesus which include the Temple of Artemis. This outdoor park was founded in 2000. Built on 60,000 square meters with 30 unique attractions, it is open 150 days each season and averages 3,000 visitors a day and 450,000 visitors a season. Since its opening, it has gone through several expansions. Gural Premier is a resort waterpark. It is a part of a five-star beachfront resort located in Antalya, owned by Gural Group. It started operating in June 2010. Construction costs totaled $110 million U.S. dollars. Open only to guests of the resort, it includes 26 first-class waterslides and pirate-themed water-play areas. This is Gural Group’s sixth waterpark resort and the developer plans more. Maxx Royal, another resort in Antalya, is situated on 400,000 square meters and includes the 10,000 square meter Cobra Kingdom Waterpark. Cobra Kingdom opened in May 2011 with 10 waterslides, including a signature ride, a kidsized water-play area and a small water-play structure.

Aquafantasy in Izmir, Turkey Photo courtesy of Polin

Cobra Kingdom was the first resort waterpark in Turkey to invest in a signature ride - and you know how it is: If one park has something unique, the others want something similar. As a result, we are now seeing a new trend among resort waterparks in Turkey all demanding signature rides. For 2013, Polin has already finalized

contracts for signature rides at five more resorts, and we expect the demand will grow. How has theme park development fared in Turkey? The first two theme parks built in Turkey, Tatilya and Landora, both in Istanbul, were not successful. Tatilya opened in 1996 with 24 attractions, and closed after 10 years. Some blame it on transportation issues. Others blame it on location. Others say it had operational difficulties. Landora opened in October 2011 in Istanbul and closed in June 2012. It covered an estimated 21,000 square meters within a 70,000 square meter complex that included a shopping mall, two hotels and an arena. Landora cost 400 million Euros to build. Site selection of this park was flawed. It was very close to four other big, competing complexes. It was an outdoor environment vulnerable to strong winds with no public transportation to the area. What about successful parks? Inside the Cevahir Mall in Istanbul is an indoor entertainment complex called Fun Lab (formerly

called Atlantis), being operated by the Balo company. The park is built on 11,000 square meters. It includes 18 rides and has a themed playground. In the coming year, Fun Lab plans to add new attractions and is working with KCC from Belgium for the design. Vialand is a major theme park set to open in spring 2013 on 600 acres in Istanbul. The land belongs to the Municipality of Istanbul. The investment value in Vialand is 450 million Euro, and more than 50 rides are planned, along with a shopping and entertainment complex. Investors are predicting upwards of 30 million visitors a year. Another theme park currently under construction is Istanbul Theme Park. An estimated 1.5 million square meters of garbage dump was purchased for the $1.9 billion project. 80 million dollars have been reserved just to get rid of waste. This is a consortium project formed by well-known construction companies. Besides the theme park, the project includes an exhibition center, a housing complex and a mall. Officials estimate the project will finish up in 2015.

What other trends are you seeing? Aquariums in Turkey are a new trend and becoming very popular. The first was built and open to the public in 2009. Turkey is now home to 8 aquariums and by September 2012, those 8 facilities had seen about 14 million visits. By year 2023, visitation is expected to be 50 million. On waterparks specifically, I expect two trends to emerge over the next few years. The first is standalone indoor waterparks. Currently a few operations have indoor slides, but no indoor standalone waterparks have been built to date. I expect that we will soon see major indoor waterparks with signature rides under construction. The second major trend, which we already are seeing, is the addition of signature rides to both existing parks and new ones being built. In theme parks and aquariums, there’s huge potential for future growth. Turkey’s young, educated population are eager patrons of the new leisure facilities, and their creativity and vision will guide development in new and fresh directions. • • •

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OPS stands for operations OPS不代表机会,它指的是运营

the importance of care and maintenance of attractions 在亚洲如何对娱乐项目维护保养十分重要 By Jeremy Railton


t Entertainment Design Corporation, while delivering shows, attractions and rides to the rapidly growing Asian tourist entertainment market, we have come across a consistent issue: we find that, as foreign vendors and consultants, we can easily fall into a false sense of security regarding the necessary care and maintenance of our attractions, once they have been handed over.

在娱乐设计公司,为来自日益增长的亚 洲旅游娱乐市场的客户提供娱乐秀场、 艺术景观和主题之旅的设计中经常遇到 的同一个问题是:项目一旦完成交付使 用后,项目所有人缺乏必要的维护保养 意识,这一点另我们始料不及。 In China, the government funds entrepreneurs who are often not aware of the maintenance issue and therefore do not factor the ongoing cost and responsibility of maintenance into their attraction budget, whether they are simple iron rides or more complex attractions.

在中国,得到政府资助的企业通常不会 意识到维保的重要性,因此根本没有为 项目的运营维保费用留出足够预算,不 管是简单的游览车项目还是复杂的艺术 景观项目。

keep all of the vitals topped up, but periodically the car needs to go in for a look under the hood by an expert—to evaluate wear and tear that is not obvious to the owner but can become a major problem if not detected in a timely way.

We find it helpful to bring up the maintenance issue very early, explaining the need for an experienced attraction maintenance team. It is sometimes a shock to clients that maintenance is an ongoing expense and they often rely on the original manufacturers to repair their attraction once it has broken down.

要向客户强调维保的重要性,我们通常 可以用汽车作为类比:车主需要对车辆 清洗、检查轮胎、保持所有指标正常, 而且定期要让专业人员打开盖子检查机 器和保养,如果不这样定期检测磨损情 况就会发生大的车况问题。

我们认为在项目早期提出这个问题并解 释给运营人员是十分必要而有助的。有 时候,客户会非常惊奇地发现在一个项 目的维保上要持续投入金钱,摒弃那种 等到哪个部件坏了再找原厂维修的旧观 念。 To emphasize the importance of ‘preventative maintenance’, we use the analogy of buying a car: the owner has to wash it, check the tires and

As attractions get more and more tech-driven, the need for highly qualified service engineers becomes even more pressing. That is why we now explain to clients that because a potential maintenance employee has engineering experience in car manufacturing, for example, it does not mean he is able to operate and maintain a sophisticated attraction that involves the integration of sound, lighting, water, effects and display systems. Free subscriptions Issue archive Updated news Feature articles & more 

由于现在的艺术景观科技含量越来越 高,所以高级合格工程师的需求也越来 越突出。因此我们现在就要告诉客户, 做为维保工程人员,单单懂得汽车制造 的维保知识是无法胜任如今综合声、 光、水、特效和显示等系统的艺术景观 维保工作。

on-site training is not always sufficient. One solution is to make an agreement to leave a technical director that the operations team can ‘shadow’ for several months or until they gain sufficient confidence in operating cutting-edge technology that requires complicated technical operations manuals and hours of training.

The fact that it is dangerous and expensive for owners to operate attractions till they fail and only then call for help has to be explained to clients that are entering the market for the first time.

一定要提前敬告给刚刚踏入这个领域的 客户不能等到坏了再寻求帮助的的运营 理念是危险而代价昂贵的。

如其他外国公司一样,EDC将提供详细 运营手册,视频说明及现场培训用户的 运营维保人员。但是,仅仅数个星期的 现场培训是远远不够的,我们的解决之 道是签订协议留下技术主管数月,使 得运营人员在这几个月里在技术主管 的“庇护”下自信而熟练操作全部先进 技术系统,完全掌握复杂的技术操作手 册度过漫长的培训期。

As all foreign companies do, EDC provides detailed operations manuals, videos and onsite training to our clients’ operations and maintenance teams. However, a few weeks of

We need to emphasize this point to Asian attraction owners, encouraging them to make service agreements with service companies that have a qualified technical staff.

这就是我们要与亚洲娱乐项目的客户强 调的要点,鼓励他们与拥有合格技术人 员的服务公司签署维保服务协议。 Until an experienced maintenance cadre emerges in Asia, there is an opportunity for American companies to enter the attraction service market. It would be welcomed by Asian clients as that region currently has a lack of experienced attraction personnel, but this situation will change as the Asian themed attraction industry matures and we share our experience. • • •

等到一支有经验的维保运营维保骨干队 伍在亚洲形成后,美国公司进入娱乐服 务市场的时机才会到来。目前这个领域 缺乏专业人员的事实相信亚洲客户也十 分清楚,不过这个局面定会随着亚洲主 题娱乐项目的蓬勃发展和走向成熟而逐 渐改观的,我们愿意将经验同他们分 享。 • • •

Working in Asia The following is excerpted from InPark’s recent profile of Entertainment Design Corporation, available in full form at What Railton and his team learned in Asia has brought about a shift in how they approach design for this market, and how they interact with clients. “Very early on, I was given good advice by Hee Teck Tan, CEO at Resorts World Sentosa. He said, ‘Jeremy, forget about all this arty, subtle stuff: Asians like bright and loud.’ It was excellent advice. I’m sort of a loud kind of guy – I always loved rock and roll concerts and variety television. I like the bright and loud and shiny. I do come from central Africa.” We are trying to take water shows to the next level by adding sculptural and scenic elements. similar to our show, The Fortune Diamond at The Galaxy Macau. The Chinese respect for maturity has stood Railton in good stead. “I feel I get a lot of respect because of my gray hair; it makes them feel comfortable. I feel like a strong, reassuring hand, the voice of experience. As an active member of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), Railton has drawn on his experiences to help boost the association’s presence in the Asian community,

especially China. “I want Asians – especially Chinese middle management – to become TEA members so they can get educated about this industry. There’s so much that can be shared from one side of the Pacific Rim to the other that will be good for their projects and for everyone’s professional experience.” What, for instance? “The role of the designer, for one. Design doesn’t stop at the concept stage, but is rather a moving, continual process. This is especially true in the case of a one-off, unique project where you’re charting new territory and must expect the unexpected. The designer should be kept on the project through the building, production and programming stages. An experienced designer also has many wellestablished relationships and will tend to know the best choices for such roles as production, technical design, fabrication and project management. This puts us in a position to react to what comes up, solving problems as they arise in a way that is true to the vision we were hired to develop in the first place. The end result is the better for it.” As an example, Railton related some details of the fabrication and programming stages in creating the Fortune Diamond for the Galaxy Macau (client: Mr. Francis Liu). The Fortune Diamond was one of two projects EDC designed


for the Galaxy – the other was The Wishing Crystals. The original concept for the 22-foot wide diamond was much more technically elaborate than the finished product, because in the process of turning the concept sketches into 3D visualizations and mockups, working with fabricator Lexington in Los Angeles, it was found that a simpler technical design would better achieve the desired result. The Wishing Crystals is another attraction designed and built for The Galaxy Macau. The 30m long pool features an interactive show that bestows great fortune to all who wish upon it. The attraction is complete with internally and externally lit crystals, which seem to magically float in a pool of water. “The original concept was a complex piece of machinery,” says Railton, “bedecked with all kinds of LEDs, mirrors and backlit pieces. But when Lexington started to analyze it and draw it up, we realized the mirrors were the important element. So we set up this whole kind of reflective mirror box, and the diamond that had started out with all this other stuff ended up relying primarily on a set of fractal mirror boxes that reflected the white pit below. This was achieved through creative give-andtake between the designer and the fabricator in which the best approach was given a chance

Crane Dance Courtesy of EDC to emerge. Design doesn’t stop at the concept stage. I know that in the process of working with the construction people, an illustration will grow into something more than was initially visualized. That’s how the unique, breakthrough projects really happen, and a client who wants that needs to foster the creative, collaborative conditions where it can happen, and trust the designer through the process.” At the same time, recognizing that the Chinese client shops for attractions differently than the Western client, EDC is in the process of devising a catalog-type approach to marketing the company’s services. “There are theme park ride companies with lovely printed catalogs that have Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and so forth,” he says. “That’s what the Chinese want from us. They want to look at a catalog and say ‘I want this for so much money.’ And I realized that it’s possible, with attractions – especially these unique public sculptures we are being asked to do now – to come up with a package that includes concept design and schematic for medium-sized attractions that the cities in China can buy, and that can be adapted and customized. So that’s something we’re now trying to shift toward providing. It’s a fascinating business model shift, and it requires us to make an upfront investment.” Jeremography As a child growing up in rural Zimbabwe crafting puppets out of clay and sketching the native birds and animals, Jeremy Railton couldn’t have imagined that one day he would be creating the world’s largest animatronic creatures in the form of a pair of 90-ft dancing cranes – the star performers in a themed attraction that took flight in the winter of 2010 at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore. Educated in fine art, Railton has brought his formidable design talents and limitless

imagination to some of the most significant artists, events and productions over the last three decades. His career spans legitimate theater, dance, film, TV award shows, live concerts for pop icons, spectacles of Olympian proportions, themed attractions, and unforgettable retail entertainment and architectural projects. Railton began his career in British film production while still a student and was quickly “discovered” and brought to Los Angeles for a production at the prestigious Mark Taper Forum. Railton made history with this production, creating the first giant screen projection backdrop ever seen on the stage. Following his early stage successes, he moved into film and television. He won acclaim as a production designer for recreating post-World War II Los Angeles in the motion picture The Two Jakes. Among his hundreds of TV credits are landmark specials including the concerts for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Railton’s credits in live staging, television, concert specials and music videos include projects for Barbara Streisand, Cher, Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, Julio Iglesias and the MTV Music Awards. His unique blend of artistry and cutting-edge technology have graced major retail, amusement, resort and casino venues such as the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Panasonic Pavilion at Universal Studios, the GM Showroom Theatre at Epcot Center and Lake of Dreams at Resorts World Sentosa. A pioneer in digital culture, Railton designed the two largest video screens in the world, the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas and the Sky Screen at The Place in Beijing. The Entertainment Design Corporation, led by Jeremy Railton, creates and produces international award-winning attractions, environments, live shows and theatrical events. Website:


keys to success as foreign markets continue to grow in importance, Gary Goddard and his team shed light on their approach to tackling international projects by Martin Palicki


ary Goddard and his associates at the Goddard Group are no strangers to the perils of working in overseas markets, having completed design contracts for projects in six different countries in the last year alone. “Since 2009, roughly 80% of our work has been in foreign markets,” says Goddard. That’s in sharp contrast to the pre-recession days when his firm was leading multiple projects for domestic companies like Hershey’s and Six Flags. With so much work in emerging markets, how does Goddard navigate the complex and distinct nuances of each culture? According to him, the answer is simple. “Quality,” he says curtly. “It’s that simple. Quality is universal.” “Great entertainment transcends cultural barriers. When you look at all the most successful entertainment brands and products like Avatar, Cirque du Soleil, Disney’s theme parks, the Lion King musical, and so on, it doesn’t matter where in the world they are - people instinctually and

enthusiastically respond to them. Each one of those taps into something deeper within the human spirit, and that’s what we aim to do in each of our projects.” Goddard notes that key to maintaining his “gold standard” is his company’s unique staffing plan, which he says stands in contrast to other models. “My way of working has always been to have 3 Aplayers instead of 20 C-players. If a client shows us the respect of paying the premium to hire us, in turn we need to show them the same respect and make sure they get what they pay for.” The last few years have seen several highprofile openings for Goddard throughout Asia, including the debut of the $2.6 billion dollar Galaxy Macau resort in 2011, the Shenfu Ring of Life monument in 2012, and several attractions at South Korea’s Lotte World this year. Taylor Jeffs, Goddard Group’s Director of Design, cites trends towards upscale experiences as a guiding factor in the company’s current

Do You Speak Beluga? at Lotte World


slate of work. “In the last decade, we’ve seen massive success from non-traditional premium experiences. Lucky Strike upped the ante for bowling alleys, Arclight improved the movie theater experience, so why should we assume that a theme park should be any different?” That trend, he adds, is best represented at Lotte World where the company is enjoying a multi-project collaboration with the Seoulbased park. “Lotte World was very lucky to gain a new park president last year who has a genuine appreciation for quality. He came from the company’s department store division, so he fundamentally understands the theater of design, and the importance of placing people in stimulating and well-crafted environments.” In October, Lotte World debuted the “Jumping Fish” family ride, and quickly followed it up with an interactive theatre show called “Do You Speak Beluga?” In the coming months, three more Goddard-designed projects are set to debut at the park, including a new themed zone called

Shenfu Ring of Life

Magic Light Parade at Six Flags Mexico

Jumping Fish family ride at Lotte World

Around the World in 80 Days at HotGo Park in Fushun, China “Underland” as well as two yet-to-be-announced attractions.

1,600 performances to more than 10,000,000 audience members.

So what does the future hold for experiencebased entertainment?

“The Lotte World collaboration is a unique opportunity for us, and for them. Because of Disney’s geographical exclusivity with the Shanghai government, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the previously planned Seoul Disney anytime soon. Because of this, working together on a unified course, we see a chance to eventually become the ‘Disney’ of Korea, and each new attraction we debut brings us closer to that goal,” adds Jeffs.

“The fact that the parade continues to be one of the park’s most popular attractions is a huge testament to our design philosophy. With that one, we really aimed to elevate what guests could expect from entertainment at a regional park,” says Goddard, adding that the design team targeted talent not normally associated with the theme park industry. “We engaged Rose Paradedesigner Raul Rodriguez as the lead Production Designer, and brought on Benoit Jutras of Cirque du Soleil-fame to create the original score.”

“Without revealing too much, we have some things coming down the pike that we believe will be transformative- one in Macau and one in Korea in particular,” says Goddard.

Goddard’s international track record hasn’t been limited to Asia. This past month the Goddard Group celebrated the fifth anniversary of its “Magic Light Parade” at Six Flags Mexico. Following its premiere at the Mexico City park in March 2008, the parade went on to be rolled out at five more parks across the Six Flags chain as the “Glow in the Park parade”, and ultimately went on to become the most successful regional theme park production of all time, playing over

The result? “It was electric- no pun intended,” says Goddard. “It worked at every park it playedguests universally loved it.” He notes, however, that one cultural issue did arise. “We had to rerecord the score’s vocal track in Spanish postopening. We anticipated that the English might not fly and had a ‘cirque-ish’ track ready on standby, but the audience made it clear during the first few performances that they wanted to hear it in their native language.”


“Overseas clients and consumers are sophisticated, and that has offered us the chance to really try and push the bar in ways that would be prohibitive in America,” Goddard adds, citing the massive costs associated with constructing projects like Galaxy and the Ring of Life. “It’s our job and our responsibility to advance the medium. Too many designers are held back by antiquated ideas established decades ago. Working in emerging markets where construction costs are lower and clients are desperate to stand out has truly made this one of the most exciting periods our industry has ever experienced.” • • •

international expositions Gordon Linden

the state of the art in 2013 By Gordon Linden


ith two Asian world expos now past – the 3-month Yeosu Expo 2012 in Korea, and Shanghai, China’s huge, 6-month Expo 2010 - the largest international exposition in history with an attendance of over 70 million, breaking the attendance record held for over forty years by Osaka, Japan’s Expo ’70 – all eyes are on Milan, Italy’s plans to host Expo 2015. Buffeted by strong headwinds in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown and by domestic political upheaval, Milan now appears to be picking up organizational momentum and has signed up 118 official participants as of January, 2013. In a sign of the times, the first corporate participant announced is not a home-grown Italian company, but rather a Chinese real estate development company. Next up after Milan: Astana, Kazakhstan has been selected – beating out Liege, Belgium - to host the next smaller, 3-month expo in 2017. Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth largest country by land area, became independent from the Soviet Union in 1990, and Astana was designated to become the new country’s capital in 1995. Bolstered by economic wealth from oil, numerous projects have been undertaken to make the city not only the capital of Kazakhstan, but also of Central Asia.

Edmonton, Canada had been a favored candidate for 2017, but after several years of studies, with mostly favorable community support throughout the process, abruptly dropped out of the bidding when the Premier of Canada announced that Her Majesty’s Government (i.e. the national Government) would not support the bid. November 2012 was a busy month for the five cities bidding to host Expo 2020. Dubai, UAE; Izmir, Turkey; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ayutthaya, Thailand; and Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation all submitted large bid books (in excess of 600 pages each) in their quest to host the next big Expo. A decision as to which city will be approved by the BIE (the Bureau of International Expositions, the treaty organization which oversees the sanctioning process and promulgates and administers the procedures which govern hosting Expos) will be made in November 2013. So, with all of this activity, it appears that the practice of hosting world’s fairs is thriving, and that nations and cities around the world continue to see value in this exercise in cultural exchange and nation branding whose history dates back over a hundred years to the Crystal Palace Exposition (the first world expo, held in London, England in 1851). Taking a long view

of the Expo medium in the context of megaevents, several developments and trends can be cited as having influenced modern day practices and outcomes: Geographical location: After Brussels’ Expo ’58 resumed the practice of hosting expos after a hiatus of several years during WWII, there were a number of the events held in North America, mostly in the U.S., with two in Canada (Montreal ’67 and Vancouver ’86). Vancouver 86 was the last one to have been held in North America, and since then, Europe and Asia, including Australia, have been the primary promoters and hosts of expos. With the selection of Astana over Liege, it appears that the BIE’s internal site selection criteria - which seek to give recognition to regions that haven’t hosted an Expo recently - is taking hold. BIE membership and international participation trends: The current membership of the BIE stands at 161 countries. This represents a dramatic uptick: as recently as 2002 when

Zaha Hadid’s Master Plan for the Expo 2020 Izmir bid. Courtesy of EXPO 2020 Izmir and Zaha Hadid Architects


West 8, landscape architects, envisions a large park as the legacy of Izmir’s Expo 2020. Courtesy of EXPO 2020 Izmir and Zaha Hadid Architects Shanghai 2010 was sanctioned, membership stood at just 88. With the membership of the United Nations at 192 nations, the BIE could, arguably, add another 30 members in the future. This historically high level of membership has important bearings on participation at expos and the sanctioning process. Since Spain’s Expo in Seville in 1992, there hasn’t been a world’s fair that has attracted fewer than 100 nations. While this is an impressive statistic and speaks to the increasingly international nature of Expos, it should be borne in mind that many of the newer members of the BIE are relatively small nations and may be characterized, from many points of view, as developing countries. Thus, while the number of participants at Expos has gone up, the average size of the exhibits has gone down. From a qualitative point of view, the visitor experience at a modern day Expo is not the same as it was 20 years ago when fewer, larger – not to mention, more expensive – exhibits were on view. In the spirit of assisting smaller, economically disadvantaged countries to participate, the BIE now requires bidders for future events to provide an accounting of the amount and types of support and assistance, such as transportation, accommodations, etc. that will be available to them in the role of Expo host. While financial assistance has been a factor in the past, this current requirement gives greater transparency to the practice, while formalizing additional financial requirements on a prospective host country which, in the past, were negotiable. A final issue arising from the increased level of BIE membership is the approval process. The basic method by which a host city is selected is

through a vote of the BIE membership. In past years, groups of countries could be encouraged to support a particular bid and, voting blocs might be counted upon to deliver a mostly unified vote. With the high number of countries now voting - many for the first or second time - the relatively large number of cities vying to host any given year creates an atmosphere for lobbying which is both unprecedented and demanding. Recognized Expos: Starting with Zaragoza’s Expo 2008, the BIE changed the classification of the smaller Expos, formerly “Specialized” or “Category II” events, to “Recognized” Expos. “Recognized” Expos have a maximum duration of three months, whereas the previous “Specialized” Expos were allowed up to six months. In addition, for a “Recognized” Expo the area occupied by the International Participants who are accommodated in organizer-built space, is to be no larger than 25 Ha. (60 Ac.). Both of these changes are based on a desire to reduce costs for both organizers and participants. However, with Zaragoza and Yeosu now having tested the new rules, some feel the 3-month duration is too short for an event of this scale to gain market share. Likewise, the aforementioned space limitation has resulted in buildings which, in order to accommodate all of the participants, are two-stories in height, with a basement for storage and services. This configuration does reduce the overall building footprint, but the added costs of 2- and 3-story structures may be counterproductive. Finally, no survey of the world of Expos would be complete without some mention of the oft-


asked question: Why hasn’t there been an Expo in the United States for more than 25 years? The simple answer is that the U.S., for a variety of reasons, dropped out of the BIE in 2001 and in order for a city to bid to host an Expo, their country has to belong to the BIE. Regardless, there was a U.S. pavilion at the expos in Yeosu, Shanghai and Aichi, Japan (2005). These U.S. Pavilions were funded and supported by the private sector under the direction of the U.S. Government. (Truth be told, the participation of many countries at Expos is basically funded by private sector entities, so, in that regard, the U.S. is consistent with the approach taken by some other countries.) Several cities have, over the past decade or so, formulated ambitious plans to get the U.S. back into the BIE and host an expo, only to fade away as needed funding and political support dematerialized. While the U.S., from time to time, does bid on the large international sports events such as the Olympics and World Cup, the lack of a formal U.S. pro-Expo organization with the continuity of mission and financial support needed to get political attention, makes it difficult for a city or even a region to mount an effective campaign to get the U.S. back into the expo game. Perhaps the fact that an expo, in a country as large and diverse as the U.S., is more of a city or regional project than a national one is at the heart of the problem. • • • Gordon Linden is a consultant trained in architecture and business, with over four decades of experience in the planning, design and implementation of urban and regional projects. He is author of “The Expo Book” (www.

TEA heads to Asia InPark interviews Chris Conte, interim president of the new TEA Asian Division by Martin Palicki What is involved with the TEA Asian Initiative? For the past three years, TEA has consistently focused on building its brand around the world. Branding is important for companies, not just products. We want people to understand what we bring to the entertainment industry through speaking on professional panels, participating in trade shows and holding mixers and special events. During those past three years we’ve had a committee exploring the Asian landscape to see if there is a need for a TEA division in Asia. Clearly, the need is there, and the International Board voted last month to officially launch the TEA Asia Pacific Division. I am functioning as the interim president and we are setting up an interim board while we start the process of developing the Division. The board will be representative of foreign companies doing business in Asia as well as regional companies. Will there be a home base for the Division? We will not have a singular presence in Asia, although with all the activity happening currently in Shanghai and Singapore, there is likely to be a great deal of focus on those two markets initially. As the Asian market expands, there may be a need to grow regional groups specifically. What are the goals? We are looking to develop a healthy membership community by providing great membership benefits, a series of seminars, and giving the Asian entertainment community the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with not only the TEA community within Asia but with members from around the world. We also want to continue to work with IAAPA in Asia. We are aligned step by step

Chris Conte

with IAAPA and coordinating efforts with them. TEA enjoys a long-term respectful relationship with IAAPA and we are making sure we are in sync and supportive of each other. What value is TEA bringing to the industry in Asia? Quite simply, TEA provides a connection with the rest of the themed entertainment world. That’s the number one asset and value people want. We provide the opportunity for national Asian companies to meet the rest of the entertainment world – not only the big companies but also the smaller scenic and design companies. The secondary value we bring is the ability to provide educational outlets as well as behind-the-scenes tours, which attract and inform a large number of people. Thanks in large part to our member companies, TEA has a significant presence in the market. We have a voice, so when we approach companies like Wanda Corporation as the TEA, they know we are an entity that is aligned together with a common cause. We also hope to provide real benefits to the Asian community. We can connect key leaders to Asian companies, and provide access to behind the scenes stuff. At the same time we want to see how different regions approach the design process and learn from them. How can people get involved? Just like our other divisions (Eastern US, Western US and Europe/Middle East) you can join a division and start by participating in TEA events such as mixers, backstage tours, education panel discussions and more importantly by joining a committee. Being directly involved in our events is the best way to meet the community and 16

benefit from what TEA has to offer. As long as you are a company who is doing work in Asia, or are looking to do work in Asia, you can join the Asian division. Has your work with Electrosonic in Asia informed what the Asian division should be at all? Absolutely. Companies like Electrosonic, Birket, Adirondack, Super 78, BRC and others have been working in the Asian market for a long time. We care about our business in those areas and we want to make sure companies working in that part of the world can benefit and learn from our mistakes and experiences. What challenges can TEA address? Some of the biggest challenges TEA faces is in helping foreign companies better understand contracting and labor laws and educating companies in this division on how to do business in China or Singapore. One of our goals is to set up conduits to deliver those answers with help from other organizations. There are numerous organizations throughout Asia that specifically cater to foreign companies to help them do business in Asia. The TEA will form alliances with these organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and hopefully serve as a conduit to these organizations for the TEA. How does this support the long-term growth plan for TEA? TEA’s long-term plan is really to be selfsufficient and provide tangible benefits to our membership. Right now educational seminars and backstage tours and access to the industry are the main benefits we provide, but we need to expand those in order to move forward. • • • Chris Conte is the Vice President of the Entertainment division at Electrosonic, where he is responsible for Electrosonic’s entertainment business worldwide, including themed parks and attractions, museums, visitor centers and other leisure entertainment venues.

singapore & malaysia new attractions and tourism thrive in Singapore and Malaysia

Judith Rubin

by Judith Rubin


esorts World Sentosa (RWS) has seen many an opening and soft opening over the past few years. According to the Singapore Tourism Board, there have been 12 major launches in 3 years at the 49-hectare, integrated resort. But RWS distinguished the opening in November 2012 of Marine Life Park, a primary anchor of the property, as a resort-wide Grand Opening. Readers may recall the Sentosa Island of the 1990s, which pales in comparison to today’s RWS behemoth. The Genting Group-owned RWS is a model of successful, interdependent attraction and hospitality development – family-friendly, with a casino driving its economic engine – and its influence can be seen throughout the industry but particularly in Asia and the Middle East. In addition to Marine Life Park, RWS is home to Universal Studios Singapore, the Maritime Experiential Museum, Crane Dance, Lake of Dreams, six hotels, and much more. At the 2012 IAAPA Attractions Expo, Serene Tan, Regional Director, Americas at the Singapore

Tourism Board, pointed out Singapore’s inherent advantages: “Singapore is a good place to do business – we all speak English plus a second language. There’s a lot of diverse culture: it’s an immigrant state with many festivals, all kinds of food, and strong in entertainment attractions. We have one of the best zoos – and the first ‘night zoo’ in the world [Singapore’s Night Safari, part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore].” Also growing is Science Centre Singapore, referred to by Tan as an “important stakeholder in the tourism landscape.” Tan reports that the science center has plans to expand in the short- mid- and long-term. Short term: a $30 M investment will add a virtual aquarium and more activity to draw young people. Green values are enforced: Tan reports that 70% of Singapore has been kept green and that new leisure developments always contain a garden or park component, whether it’s the Sky Park 57 stories up at Marina Bay Sands, or the slightly more conventional Gardens by the Bay, a 250-acre,

waterfront public garden that Tan refers to as the “Central Park of Asia.” Since opening in June 2012, Gardens by the Bay has drawn special notice and praise for its 18 “Supertrees.” Striking in appearance, the Supertrees are vertical garden structures, 25-50 meters high and covered in climbing plants. During the day, the Supertrees’ large canopies provide tree-like shade and shelter. At night, they come alive with lighting, projected media and a specially-composed light and sound show known as the OCBC Garden Rhapsody. Eleven of the Supertrees boast sustainable features that enable them to function something like real trees, harvesting solar energy via photovoltaic cells and exhausting air from greenhouses.

Legoland Malaysia. Courtesy of Themed Attractions Malaysia


Two of the Supertrees are connected by an aerial walkway, and the largest houses a treetop bistro. Infrastructure is another of Singapore’s strong points. Tan noted the capacity of the airport (up to 60M passengers) a convenient mass transit system and relatively inexpensive taxis, plus density. “You can see it all in a short amount of time.” Access will be further enhanced with the doubling of berth capacity at the international cruise terminal, enabling more cruise ships to dock. One of Singapore’s top tourist markets is India, whose people Tan describes as “affluent travelers with great affinity for the island.” China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe (especially the UK) and the US are all significant markets as well. All these new attractions will provide plenty of interest when the attractions industry meets in Singapore June 4-7 for the 2013 IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo at Marina Bay Sands.

Malaysia In nearby Malaysia, the attractions market is also simmering with new brands and properties. Themed Attractions Malaysia executives

MD/CEO Tunku Dato’ Ahmad Burhanuddin, CFO Vallo Mutto and VP Branding and Group Communications Waikuan Wong report that the government-supported push for tourism development in the commonwealth, especially in the Southern corridor, is strong. Malaysia, they point out, is well positioned to serve both locals and travelers. It receives many tourists from China, India and the Middle East, has a sizable Chinese community, a growing middle class and easy proximity to Singapore and Bangkok, and everybody speaks English plus one other language. Focusing on jump-starting things with a familyfriendly selection of attractions, the company sought out top entertainment design firms and suppliers: The Hettema Group, BRC Imagination Arts, Thinkwell, Forrec, WhiteWater West and Pro Slide have all contributed – and top brands: Legoland Malaysia (Legoland Malaysia opened September 2012); KidZania (KidZania Malaysia opened February 2012); The Little Big Club and Sanrio Hello Kitty Town (both at Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park, opened in late 2012). Other human and company resources have included Bain & Co. for master planning, Darrell Metzger, Chairman of the Themed Attractions Malaysia Executive Committee, Steve Peet, former COO of Village Roadshow, and Philip Whittaker, as chief

marketing officer. Their approach has succeeded and tourism has grown 10% year over year. With the market of children under age 12 and their families now reasonably well covered, a new surge of development will emphasize the natural beauty and culture of the area, with Leisure Tour Asia initiative aiming to embrace all five senses with food, arts & culture, heritage attractions, seaside resorts and increased leveraging of holidays. Ride parks are also forecast in the future. The group also has the license to open KidZania Singapore in 2015. Just 15 minutes away to the South by bridge, Singapore is seen as a complementary region in terms of tourism, especially in terms of its gaming attractions. Tunku Dato reported that Malaysia’s prime minister as well as its people are quite happy with the development trend, which includes hotels and residential complexes. “It’s a longawaited thing,” he said. “We had no theme parks for a very long time. The community is very hungry for it and attendance has been beyond all expectations. And with all the new development it brings in its wake, we are creating jobs directly and indirectly. We are fostering a local industry.”



Hundreds of suppliers, innovative ideas, and unlimited opportunities await you in Singapore.


Asian Attractions Expo 2013 CONFERENCE: 4–7 JUNE 2013 EXHIBITION: 5–7 JUNE 2013

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore TO ATTEND OR EXHIBIT, GO TO

the road to China

Brian Paiva

a strong local presence leads to success in Asia by George Walker


hemed entertainment has always followed a winding road filled with surprising turns and unexpected twists. This metaphorical “road” was initially little more than a single lane emanating from humble beginnings in Anaheim. Today it is more like a bustling highway, and it includes significant routes to the Middle East and Eastern Europe, but the primary destination is Asia predominantly China.

Growth and more growth Economic and demographic numbers from China today reflect more potential for themed entertainment development than ever before, anywhere in the world. Chris Yoshii, AECOM Global Director of Economics, explains that the percentage of people in China with the wherewithal to visit a theme park is larger than the total population of the US. “Right now there are 600 million people in that income level, growing to 1 billion in just 20 years.” Yoshii continues, “In the US, nearly every city with 1 million people has a major attraction or theme park of some kind. For China, with nearly 200 cities of 1 million or more, just to simply get statistically caught up with the US, a vast number of parks would need to be created.” Similar findings are reported by Christian Aaen, Principal at Entertainment+Culture Advisors (ECA). “Indicators point to China as the number 1 market for theme parks in the history of the industry,” he says. “ECA is keeping busy in Asia – 50 to 60% of our work is in China these days and we are expanding our Hong Kong team.” Aaen cites the need for companies to lay down the foundation for long-term support of the industry in Asia because of its potential to create long-term demand. With a base population of 1.3 billion people, the implications of even a smaller statistical subset results in significant numbers. He points out that every year the country has seen a 10% growth rate in domestic travel – major, continuing, year-over-year increases of people looking for places to go locally. Not only are those local tourists looking for something to do, but each year they have more money to spend doing it. We’ve all heard that China’s middle class is growing, but the key is the

sustainable growth of national income at 7-8%. “And that is just the average,” Aaen adds. “Some areas in Western China are growing as much as 12-15%.” These “first-tier cities” are seeing the most activity and development. Aaen points out that there are other positive factors beyond merely counting the potential number of visitors. “China’s government is making huge investments developing the infrastructure of mass tourism. Their projects for roads and high-speed rail (HSR) are on an immense scale. Soon all the major tiers will be connected by HSR to Hong Kong completing in 2015.” The influence of China reaches beyond its borders as well, impacting growth in the greater Asian region from an increase in outbound travel of 18-20% annually. Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand are hot spots. “We are seeing these cities adapt to the tourist audience, serving up more entertainment,” Aaen adds. “The opening of Legoland Malaysia was very impressive, claiming 1 million visits in the first 4 months. That would be a strong opening for a family-based theme park no matter where it was in the world. The upcoming Desaru Coast resort being developed by Khazanah and Themed Attraction Malaysia (TAR) is also expected to set new standards. The recently announced project, set to open in 2015, will contain Ocean Splash Waterpark, Ocean Quest Marine Park, an Ernie Els-designed and another Vijay Singh-designed golf course, four hotels and a themed entertainment district. It shows there is great demand in the region.” The road can be bumpy at times, though, with such an immense population. According to Nick Winslow, a leading recreational facilities and services consultant who was the driving force in realizing the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo in 2010, “There are huge holiday periods, like Golden Week, when everyone goes out to do things all at once. This skews the traditional Design Day strategy. The parks need to be able to accommodate for that.” One way, Winslow indicates, is to invest in live entertainment that can be ramped up and down as needed. “The smart money is less investment on expensive


attractions and equipment, and more on the environment and entertainment. Labor is cheap. Shows are less expensive to produce and maintain than rides.” So how are companies positioning and adapting themselves to travel this road to the future of the attractions industry - to help feed China’s and Asia’s growing appetite for themed entertainment?

Building a local presence The direction taken by FUNA International - a technology solutions company taking a major provider role for several large projects in China - has been to establish a strong local presence. Since its founding in 1972, FUNA has grown to encompass over 200 employees across 10 offices that span the globe, from their headquarters in Emden, Germany to the USA, Finland, Italy, France, Korea, and now, of course, China. Brian Paiva, Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning at FUNA, sees the local approach as vital to doing business in the region. “Our strategy,” says Paiva, “is to be able to accept a contract for a project in China as either an international company or a local Chinese company. This gives our clients flexibility to choose what’s best for them based on the individual project requirements.” FUNA maintains a locally registered Chinese company with offices in Shanghai as well as a 6,500 square meter fabrication facility in Taizhou that is certified ISO 9001:2000 compliant. “This is a critical factor, whether the clients are government funded or private investors because they all prefer to use local resources,” notes Paiva, who will be a featured speaker at The 3rd Annual China Theme Park Expansion Summit in Shanghai (April 1112). “Some projects in the region are mandated

Nick Winslow

to have 80% of all work done by local vendors.” This may lead to traffic jams as the demand for technically skilled people is very high, yet the number of Chinese who are qualified to fill those roles is limited. Paiva emphasizes that FUNA “has created paths to finding specialized workers through long-standing relationships with local vendors.” IAAPA, the leading association for the theme park industry, has also recognized the need for a local presence. In recent years IAAPA has done much to help build an industry forum in Asia with its now solidly established Asian Attractions Expo (AAE), taking place in 2013 in Singapore (June 4-7) and in 2014 in Beijing (June 17-20). Andrew Lee, Vice President of IAAPA Asia Pacific Operations, sees the organization as a bridge that connects clients and suppliers in the region, through AAE and through IAAPA’s Hong Kong office. The IAAPA Hong Kong office is a resource staffed with professionals fluent in both languages and equipped to provide education for attraction operators and managers, suppliers, and government officials. “We work to foster the harmonizing of global standards throughout the region,” Andrew Lee adds, “and we are working on translating materials into multiple languages.” The Themed Entertainment Association, founded 21 years ago in southern California, has likewise recognized that the epicenter of the industry is moving East, and has set up an Asia Division [see article on p. 16]. There are also emerging trade groups and events originating in Asia, such as the above-mentioned Theme Park Expansion Summit, organized by Noppen. The Summit brings together

Lisa Smith

Chris Yoshii

government officials, real estate developers, theme park & attraction operators, suppliers, media and other industry professionals from around the world for two days of presentations and discussions.

your interests. I have also found AmCham (The American Chamber of Commerce) to be a valuable asset.” The Chamber plays a role in helping to provide resources and information that help guide projects.

Traveling the road to success in the Asian theme park industry includes learning to navigate the complex monetary systems and laws. “There are differences working in Hong Kong, or Macau, or a special tax zone, as opposed to most of mainland China, and you can encounter significant duties and tariffs,” Paiva explains. “These fees are often a moving target, also. Valuations can fluctuate. Things change depending on where you are standing. A company can easily run into a wall of unanticipated expense. You have to do your research to understand all of the associated costs of doing business in China. FUNA has done enough projects in the region that our knowledge base has increased significantly.”

The Chinese business culture has many layers and its structures are not always comparable to those of the West. Scott Arnold puts it this way; “The org chart isn’t as self-evident. It is often difficult determining who has the authority to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” In part this is because China’s economy is not only growing fast, it is one of the fastest growing economies in history. There has been little time to create the documentation and standardized regulations that are customary to the entertainment industry in other parts of the world. “There is no master set of documents,” Arnold points out, and reiterates the value of local ties. “FUNA’s parent company has had a presence in China for years and that has allowed them to develop the contacts with local resources and experts, so that they are better prepared to get things done.”

Size helps, especially if it is paired with financial stability. Scott Arnold, Design Manager at FUNA, says, “If you are a small company, you just don’t have the scale to protect yourself from the complications of the bureaucracy.”

Bureaucracy and the bottom line Sometimes companies face obstacles in getting their money out of China. Nick Winslow advises prospective developers to reach out to the American Chamber of Commerce. “Issues regarding contracts, regulations and entitlements, repatriation, customs duties, etc. can be very complex and difficult in China,” he says. “In virtually all instances, an offshore developer will need a trustworthy Chinese partner. I recommend having strong Chinese legal counsel to provide advice and represent


Lisa Smith, President and Executive Producer of Renaissance Entertainment, a company that specializes in the production of live shows, attractions, and spectaculars, has found through her experiences in China that much of the decision-making happens at the top level. “Middle management isn’t as empowered in China as it is in the West. Having only one key point of decision-making often leads to a bottleneck, so be prepared for schedule delays as a result. There is so much bureaucracy that a certain amount just isn’t going to happen. The answer is just going to be ‘no.’” Still, Smith is intrigued by the enthusiasm of the Chinese: “As a show producer, one surprise for me

Scott Arnold

Christian Aean

exposure to it before and it is exciting to see people experiencing these things for the first time.” “It’s easy to be dazzled by all the exciting projects and activity in China these days,” Nick Winslow adds. “We are witnessing a cultural change where the people are discovering their interest [in themed entertainment] in huge numbers.”

was that they like action, excitement, explosions. Their interests are not as reserved as those of other Asian cultures.” Producing shows to deliver the desired action, however, isn’t always easy. “Inherently the Chinese want to learn how to create this type of entertainment themselves, but the challenge is that they are skipping several steps and leapfrogging to complex, world-class attractions right away without having had the years of experience to build up to that point. We are producing shows and events that use special effects and technologies that simply have never been done in the country before, so there are no established paths to getting them permitted or even into the country. About 25% of the problems you encounter are things that just can’t get through customs, or are simply not allowed. You have to be flexible.”

A magical spirit Traveling the road to themed entertainment development in China and Asia is complex and risky, but for those we spoke to, the rewards and future promise are worth the effort. Smith has been inspired in her work by the spirit of the Chinese. “They genuinely want to create something magical and that is very rewarding!” Each successful project leads to more competition and raises the standard. Could this mean a Renaissance in the world of Experience Design? Scott Arnold is very excited about the possibilities. “I’m having a great time being in an environment where the culture is embracing the themed entertainment industry as a whole,” he explains, adding that “they haven’t had much

Brian Paiva is equally enthusiastic. “We are not here to execute a single, one-off project. In China, you have to play the long game. We are committed to forging the path and being the first to lay a strong foundation and springboard for many exciting new projects going forward.” ••• George Walker is a creative consultant who is excited to be starting a new role as Art Director for Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi. George calls himself a “Story Builder” who always aims to strike a balance between innovative ideas and realistic build-ability. His recent projects include the Baker Street rehab for Universal Studios Hollywood, and carving rocks for Disney’s Cars Land.

sign here navigating the world of Chinese contracts by Wendy Heimann-Nunes, Esq. How often have you heard or said that in China a contract is pointless? Due to this common misconception, when doing business in China many companies either fail to execute a contract or fail to execute a contract that is enforceable. As a result, many companies doing business in China wind up facing disputes that are difficult to resolve, because their contracts are not specific enough or do not contain important provisions for effective resolution by courts or arbitrators. Each year, the World Bank publishes its “Doing Business” rankings in which it ranks countries by ease of doing business. Interestingly enough, in 2012 China placed 18 out of 185 countries in the category of…enforcing contracts. Surprised? So, when doing business in China, spend time on your contract. To further ensure that your legal counsel is protecting your interests, the following is a list of particularly important clauses for inclusion in a Chinese contract.

Conditions Precedent No company wants to commit money, time or effort on a project without some certainty that the deal actually will move forward. “Conditions precedent” are events that must occur before certain performance under a contract becomes due. Make sure your contract clearly identifies milestones important to your business that must be completed prior to your having to make payment or perform work.

Indemnification Indemnification is an agreement to cover expenses and liabilities of the other party in certain situations. Many Chinese companies are uninsured, so when seeking indemnification in a Chinese contract, you may encounter resistance. Your Chinese counterpart may be reluctant to commit to an indemnification without funds sufficient to back-up it up. Faced with this, you may be convinced that the issue is mute; however, an indemnification still is important, as it provides at least some means of protecting your company. Make sure to include it.

Confidentiality & Non-Compete We’ve all heard the stories…. And, of course, no one wants to assist another company in competing with it. Be sure to have a clear, rigorous non-disclosure and non-compete provision. Do not forget to provide in it that all of your Chinese counterpart’s employees, agents and independent contractors must sign equally rigorous non-disclosure and non-compete agreements.

Governing Language When doing business with a foreign entity, translation errors can be common. Your contract should identify clearly the governing language version in the event of inconsistency between the Chinese and English versions. Chinese companies often resist the English version to govern. In such instance, specify that both versions are equally authentic and controlling. While this may seems paradoxical, in this way the English version does not automatically lose in the dispute. It is advisable to also include language to the effect that negotiations are conducted in English, as a judge or arbitrator may take that into account when making its judgment.

Wendy Heimann-Nunes law. For a run-of-a-mill contract, PRC law might be sufficient, but it usually is advisable to press for United States law.

Amendment Anyone who has done business in China knows to expect negotiations to continue after contract execution! Accordingly, your contract should stipulate that all changes must be in writing. If you verbally agree to something, make sure you codify it in a written agreement.

Sovereign Immunity Waiver Most countries provide that their government has sovereign immunity, meaning that it cannot be sued for monetary damages. In the event you are doing business with a governmental entity, a quasi-governmental entity, or a stateowned enterprise (SOE), be sure your contract includes this waiver. While such a provision is rather untested, it is better than nothing.

Arbitration & Governing Law

One Last Piece of Advice

Chinese courts almost always enforce arbitration awards, so arbitration is the favored means of securing your right to recover damages. Be advised, however, that arbitration is not the favored method for non-monetary damages like injunctions or specific performance. Choosing governing law (the law that will be used to interpret the contract) is important, as it will affect the way the contract is drafted (note that Chinese law necessarily must govern certain contracts like Sino-foreign joint ventures - with respect to most other contracts, the parties can choose the governing law). Many individuals think choosing neutral law like Switzerland is the way to go; however, doing so is only good if your attorney is familiar with Swiss law! Choose the law with which your attorney is most familiar. While PRC law is not as anti-foreigner as folks often think, it is not as complete as United States

So what do you know…? China is good at enforcing contracts after all. Why then do we so often hear “Hey, I’m not spending much time or money on this contract, as it’s not worth the paper it’s written on!” Well, many contracts entered into by foreigners simply are not enforceable in China because they are unclear. Chinese courts actually are good at enforcing contracts in which the standards for default are objective and the penalty requires little analysis. Make certain that whatever contract you enter into, it is drafted with clarity. One never wants to sue, but if one must, it certainly helps to have a contract that you can enforce. • • •


Wendy Heimann-Nunes, founding partner of Heimann Galen LLP, offers unique expertise in location-based entertainment and the ever-growing intersection of entertainment and technology. Her biography may be viewed at

the fine print practical guidelines for protecting your project credits by Bob Rogers and the creative staff at BRC Imagination Arts


tolen or misleading credits are a problem for everyone in our industry – practitioners and clients alike. False credits rob the deserving of a hard-earned competitive edge and they mislead clients into hiring the wrong suppliers, thus putting their own project at risk while rewarding the unscrupulous. The next victim may well be YOU! What can you do to protect yourself and your team members? The answers are imperfect, but here is what our company, BRC Imagination Arts, has found useful:

1. The creator/producer must take control of the credits in their contract with the attraction owner

If you are the primary Creator/Producer, you need the right language in the contract with your client so that YOU can control and arbitrate credits. Someone has to do it or there will be uncontrolled credit chaos. The Creator/Producer is the logical choice because they understand credits and have the best overview. Here is the standard language that BRC uses in contracts with owners: Credit language from BRC’s standard client CONCEPT terms and conditions: Acknowledgements – Client and Producer may name the other and/or the Project as a client or creative contributor (whichever is appropriate) for promotional and/or marketing purposes. If all or part of Client’s project is produced based on the Final Deliverables, Client agrees to publish and post Credits at the project site or website (homepage) where they may be easily seen by the visiting (or viewing) public, listing “Concept Created by BRC Imagination Arts” or “Designed, Created and Produced by BRC Imagination Arts,” whichever is more appropriate (or an alternative Client and Producer mutually agree upon). If Client produces the project with further Producer participation, Client agrees to allow Producer to control the Credits. In either case Client and Producer mutually agree that Producer’s final credit will be used in all publicity, marketing and other materials distributed by Producer or Client.

Credit language from BRC’s standard client PRODUCTION terms and conditions: “Show Credits” is the contents, sequence, and relative sizing of the names and capacities of persons and firms contributing technical and/or creative elements to the Project as determined by Producer. The Show Credits list will be used wherever any credits are published or posted by Producer or Client. Producer and Client agree not to publish or authorize conflicting or confusing credits for this Project. Producer will indemnify and hold Client harmless from any disputes regarding Show Credits arising among creative and technical contributors reporting to Producer. Credits & Publicity (a) Client and Producer may name the other and/or the Project as a client or creative contributor (whichever is appropriate) for promotional and/or marketing purposes. Producer agrees to provide, and Client agrees to prominently and permanently post Show Credits at the Project site where they may be easily seen by the visiting public. Client agrees to include Producer’s credit; “Designed, Created and Produced by BRC Imagination Arts” directly in all marketing and publicity materials under its control, including prominent placement and a link to Producer’s website on any Client’s website featuring the Project. Client agrees to name Producer, using Producer’s credit, in all Project-related press releases and press materials under its control. (b) Client will issue or cause to be issued to Producer a reasonable number of invitations to attend all events associated with the dedication ceremonies and all events associated with the opening for the Project. (c) Before and after the Grand Opening, Producer will be allowed to photograph, videotape and distribute excerpts of the Exhibit as presented in the Project, the interior and exterior of the Exhibit, the Facility itself and on-site public interviews and audience reactions to the Exhibit during regular operating hours, at times mutually agreeable. Producer will make said photographs and video tape available to Client for Client’s own promotional purposes including submission for a Thea Award.


Bob Rogers is the Founder and Chief Creative Director of BRC Imagination Arts, one of our industry’s leading design and production firms.

2. The creator/producer must take control of the credits in their contracts with their vendors and employees

When you hire vendors and team members make them sign an agreement that includes language giving you strong authority over their credit and their project-related publicity/ promotion. The following is lifted from the BRC vendor agreement used for technical as well as creative vendors and team members: Work Made for Hire and Credit All of the ideas, concepts, designs, images and products of your work produced under this Agreement (the “Work”), whether by you or your sub-vendor(s), shall be considered “Works Made For Hire” for BRC. All rights to and products of Vendor’s Work shall be the exclusive property of BRC Imagination Arts. Vendor may not copy any of its work under this agreement, in whole or in part, without first receiving the written permission of BRC. Vendor may not release or show (publically or privately) any part of its Work under this agreement, in whole or in part, to any third party without first receiving the written permission of BRC. This includes but is not limited to, use of any part of its Work under this agreement for advertising and promotional purposes (including the use by your clients, employees and employers), including print, broadcast, webcast, private sales presentation or any other form of copying, distribution or exhibition, without the express prior written permission of BRC. No creative credit for Vendor’s Work is granted except as specifically defined by written addendum to this Agreement. The Vendor agrees to advertise and communicate accurately and completely regarding their role in creating the project using the exact credit granted them in the BRC credit list, and Vendor agrees not to misrepresent the nature of their role, either by omission or commission. If the Vendor

does not receive a credit in the BRC credit list, the Vendor shall have no right to make or imply any claim of involvement or credit whatsoever regarding their work on the project. Violation of any part of this clause or any other credit-related clause hereunder will result in harm to BRC’s client and/or to BRC and Vendor shall, immediately upon the request of BRC, cease all offending actions and remove, recall and destroy all material associated with its work under this agreement and still in its procession. Compensatory damages, shall be based on the nature of the offense and the loss (tangible and intangible, direct and consequential) to BRC’s client and/or BRC and may include termination of this Agreement, as well as punitive damages awarded to BRC’s client and/or to BRC and in addition to these remedies and any others that may be available to BRC at law or in equity, BRC shall be entitled to injunctive relief to prevent the further violation of this Agreement by Vendor. Vendor agrees in advance to execute any BRC-required media or production releases upon request of BRC management. Vendor agrees to provide to BRC the names of all Vendor sub-vendor(s), consultants, suppliers, employees or any other person or entity that provides services or supplies material to Vendor in Vendor’s performance of this Agreement BRC reserves the right to approve, or require Vendor to replace, any of the above at any time during the performance of this Agreement. Use of Name & Logo Vendor shall acquire no right to, nor interest in the name or logo, nor any derivation of the name or logo of BRC, including any of its heirs and subsidiaries, or of BRC’s client or this project. Vendor shall not publicize nor advise any third party of its selection by BRC to perform services under this Agreement, nor the identity of BRC’s client nor the nature of the work without prior written approval of BRC, which will not be unreasonably withheld. Use of Images Vendor agrees to not use, publish or show (publically or privately) any images (regardless of who owns the images) in a way that implies the vendor performed more or different services than as specified in the official BRC credit list. In cases where Vendor is granted separate written permission (from any authorized source) for Vendor to use images or other media from any part of the project as part of Vendor’s promotion or publicity or any other use, Vendor agrees to prominently include the words “Created and Produced by BRC Imagination Arts” in all material under Vendor’s control.

Transfer Credits Vendor’s credit is not transferrable to other employers or successor companies. If the vendor becomes an employee, partner or substantial advisor to another company, the Vendor’s credit may not be used in a way that implies it is a credit of the new company. In addition to satisfying all other requirements hereunder, any use of the Vendor’s credit must be restricted to a web page, paragraph or listing that is specifically about the Vendor’s individual credits, and does not imply that this is a credit of the new company.

3. Be firm, yet fair

Now that you have the authority, use it with responsibility, fairness and generosity. Here are the tests we use internally, within BRC, when evaluating an outsider’s credit claim: A. Be fair and generous. Wherever possible, we WANT our suppliers and team members to take credit for what they did. As artists, we believe in the right to credits provided they are accurate and do not infringe on the legitimate credit of another contributor to the project. B. Accuracy As the arbiter of credits you will decide what credit is most accurate and fair. When initially assigning credits, make sure that the credit you assign will communicate an accurate and complete reflection of what the person or company did on the project. When the person or company uses the assigned credit there must be no ambiguity or confusion regarding the person’s or company’s role on the project. Your responsibility is not merely to protect yourself; you also have a fiduciary responsibility to create and administer credits in a way that protects one vendor from infringing on the credit of another. Through your contracts with suppliers and team members make sure they understand they are only authorized to use the credit assigned by you. They should not use anything other than the credit assigned by you and neither through co-mission nor omission should the use of the credit or visual material imply that they did more or performed greater services or different services than is reflected by the official credits assigned by you. An example of “omission” might be where a company that was an advisor, listed and pictured one of your projects on a list of their “completed projects” in a way that (without actually saying it) suggested or allowed the reader to assume that they created and produced this entire project. Another example of omission: Imagine a person who normally advertises themselves as an art director, and they list or picture your project for which they were


NOT credited as “Art Director” on a list of projects they did art direct. In that case, by omitting their true assigned credit the reader might logically assume that they were the Art Director on your project as well. That must not be allowed. Shared credits raise a slightly different issue. For example, if three people were all credited as “art directors” in the credits (a shared credit), then when they describe themselves elsewhere they should list themselves as “co-art director”. C. Acknowledgment of the Creator/Producer If the overall attraction was created or produced by BRC, we usually ask that, in addition to an accurate statement of credits, these words also appear: “Created and Produced by BRC Imagination Arts” or similar words passing the same tests above, which means that BRC’s credit must pass the same tests of accuracy and consistency with its credit as it appears in the official credits. D. Transferred credit People’s situations change – that’s reality. If the credit belongs to a person who later moved to another company, what credits can they confer onto their new company? None! But we DO support the individual’s right to claim a granted credit as their own personal credit. In this regard we insist their use meet all of the tests above, but in addition we require that the credit only appear on the individual’s bio page and not on the new company’s list of completed projects. And we insist that the credit be purged from the new company’s web site the moment the individual leaves the new company. For companies that merge or partner we insist on the same rules. On more than one occasion we have discovered that the person or vendor who earned the credit was only part of the new company a short time before moving on, and yet the new company fails to purge the transferred credit that the new company no longer deserves. Sometimes this is just an innocent oversight but too often it is not.

4. Trust, but verify

We want to trust our industry colleagues. But before we hire anyone, we call around to make sure they are who they say they are, and that they really did what they say they did. Almost always we find that people in this industry are honest. But occasionally we are disappointed because we discover stolen or misleading credits. And if they are stealing credits from someone else, they will likely steal from us as well. Our industry is strongest when we all hold one another to the same standards of fairness, honesty and integrity. • • • ©Bob Rogers, BRC Imagination Arts

international brands, local audiences

the Wet’n’Wild & Merlin Entertainments approach to the Sydney attractions market by Michael Reid, ICONPATH


everal truly international brands have emerged from the consolidation of the attractions industry over the past decade. But does a global presence necessarily translate into local success? Will a standardized product create uniform enjoyment for guests or does a one size fits all strategy in fact fit no one? The answer, perhaps, lies in successful building of brand awareness, coupled with an acute awareness of the local environment. Globalized entertainment can work, but only when approached in the right way. To see this playing out right now, one can examine the case study of Sydney, Australia. Having recently been the recipient of several new attraction investments Sydney has even more set to debut in the not too distant future. A closer look at two of the most prominent new international players to enter the market sheds some light on distinctly different ways of adapting to a new location and how audiences may perceive their offerings.

Wet‘n’Wild Sydney In a city surrounded by splendid natural beaches with perfect surfing conditions, how can an artificial lagoon set in the middle of the suburbs capture the imagination of the public? How will the Wet‘n’Wild brand differentiate itself in these unchartered waters? All will be revealed when the park opens in December of this year but owner Village Roadshow Theme Parks is no stranger to the challenges of adapting multiple brands for new markets. Take, for example, Sea World and Warner Bros Movie World in Australia and Wet’n’Wild in Phoenix, Hawaii and soon Las Vegas. In fact, sister park Wet’n’Wild Water World in the Gold Coast ranked an impressive #9 in terms of 2011 global water park attendance and #4 in the Asia Pacific region, enjoying a 24.1% jump in visitors in 2012. However, despite this nearby success, Wet’n’Wild Sydney is no sure

bet in a city that has seen the closure of several high profile experiences including Fox Studios and Australia’s Wonderland. Instead, Wet’n’Wild Sydney seems to be using a carefully considered product strategy based on Quantity, Quality and a bit of Hyperbole thrown in for good measure. Quantity With 42 slides and attractions mostly from industry veterans WhiteWater West, Wet’n’Wild Sydney will have a solid line-up right from day one, unmatched in Australia and extremely competitive with other parks around the world. This strategy of starting big stands in direct contrast to several other parks in the region (such as Hong Kong Disneyland) that opened with minimal attractions and instead adopted a long term growth strategy. Initially, they were unfavorably compared to their international counterparts with more robust offerings. Wet’n’Wild Sydney will easily avoid this fate with its impressive slide portfolio. Quality Sheer number of slides aside, there are a number of innovations planned such as “the world’s first combination of a 4 loop and 8 lane racer [from WhiteWater West] and the world’s tallest Double SkyCoaster.” Given the Sydney market is relatively inexperienced in differentiating slide types, it’s interesting to see a sophisticated line-up of rides from the outset again designed to make a good first impression.

The SeaLife brand joins the stable of other popular Merlin attractions in Sydney including Madame Tussauds and Wild Life Zoo Sydney. Photo courtesy of Michael Reid


Hyperbole To round out the launch strategy, Wet ‘n’Wild has also staked some unique claims to set it apart from its nearest competition (the beach), which is unmatched on price (absolutely free). “The heart of the Wet’n’Wild Sydney experience will be the biggest’n’best wave pool featuring a huge sandy beach and an awesome surfable wave. With no rip currents or sharks, this amazing attraction will put the beach within reach for everybody.” proclaims the pre-launch website.

For Wet’n’Wild Sidney WhiteWater West is providing two massive slide towers, including this one featuring four AquaLoops. Courtesy of WhiteWater West Other promotional material raises the stakes The SEA LIFE re-branding carefully followed the even further “The countdown is on to the grand model Merlin established for the transition of opening of the world’s best water park, Wet’n’Wild Sydney Tower to the “Eye” brand, best know for the Sydney” with “the world’s tallest, world’s best, and London Eye ferris wheel. The somewhat inelegantly multiple world firsts.” named “Sydney Tower Eye” debuted back in late 2011, again following an extensive refurbishment The public will ultimately decide whether and improved product offering that included the Wet’n’Wild Sydney can live up to the hype but one first ever 4D film produced in Australia and 360 thing is clear, it will certainly fill a very large gap in degree panoramic views enhanced by new statethe Sydney attractions scene being the first major of-the-art technology. waterpark in a city of over 4.6 million outdoor loving people. Like Wet’n’Wild, Merlin has been intent on ensuring their brands make a strong first impression in the Merlin Entertainments Sydney market with an enhanced product debuting at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower the same time. The results speak for themselves Eye, Madame Tussauds Sydney Madame Tussauds Sydney was recently awarded Merlin Entertainments has also made a big impact Gold at the highly coveted Qantas Australian in Sydney over the past several years but has Tourism Awards in the category of New Tourism taken a different approach for their launch into Development less than 12 months after its debut. the market. They have been steadily acquiring an impressive portfolio of existing Sydney attractions Start How you Intend to Finish (many of which were coincidentally purchased Thanks to the dizzying array of online content and from Village Roadshow), extensively upgrading the the ubiquitous ability to comment (or critique) experience and only then re-branding in line with through social media, guests in Australia and international counterparts. Asia Pacific can compare their local experiences to global benchmarks easier than ever before. In September, Sydney Aquarium reopened as SEA Consequently, the strategy of building smaller LIFE Sydney Aquarium after a nine month, $10 (and often inferior) versions of overseas attractions million refurbishment making it the largest of the may at last be at an end. The “go big or go home” world’s 44 SEA LIFE centers with over 70 exhibits approach of Wet’n’Wild and Merlin Entertainments of 700 different species and 13,000 animals in an in Australia has certainly shown how global brands impressive eight million liters of water. Since its can enter a new market sensitively and successfully. opening in 1988, Sydney Aquarium has consistently How they manage to stand the test of time is yet been one of Sydney’s (and arguably Australia’s) top to be seen. • • • attractions with a devoted following. However, the transition to the new brand following the Michael is Director of ICONPATH which blends acquisition by Merlin has so far proven to be Narration, Exploration, seamless and well-received despite the SEA LIFE Diversion & Immersion in brand not being a household name in Australia. In unexpected ways to create the lead-up to the re-launch, the SEA LIFE website contemporary themed tantalized guests with a preview of things to come experiences with timeless including insight into the new name: “In addition appeal. to an amazing new look, Sydney Aquarium will soon fly the world famous SEA LIFE banner, globally recognized as the number one aquarium brand...”






photo essay: spectacle


Shenzhen, ChinaSed unt, eos sus eatis delluptate am quibusae quam eum voluptam restrum qui doluptatem Around the globe, everyone loves aea good show. Nighttime are even moreat. popular. In this photo essay, InPark examines the work of ECA2, aut od ut fugiam ulpa qui santium secaborporem fugit,spectacles ne velesequi numetur whose 30 years of experience in thecon creation, designendaeceprae and production of majoromnihil events and shows has allowed them to work in many countries, tailoring Ique cumet, aut maximai onseque ea dolum prestiandi inciention parunt atur, solutions and artistic concepts to the presiding cultural expectations for each installation. eatechnical volores tiorerum quatiae rumque vellaborum harcilibea nihicit quid magnihi tiusdae. Peraerit apis delescid es ipsam, shows consisted mainly arume of lightsdolendu and sounds. To create a more immersive experience, ECA2autempora has pushed the boundaries by bringing together velHistorically, is mod qui omnihita aut plibus scidust, tempell upiditi nimolup taquisi inis creative concepts in technically feasible ways. Initially European, the market for multimedia shows spread to the Middle East and Asia, recently returning qui ut que lab iusa simporem incilic iendit volore, quiande llaccat offictiore ofďŹ ctiore cum quae nis cum, omnime natem again to Europe. It is now common for major theme parks to have a unique and iconic nighttime spectacular. ut vel est, ea cus, es imus maxim acilicius. In addition to featuring a couple smaller installations, this essay examines two recent permanent acclaimed nighttime spectaculars: Mangrove Groove in Shenzhen-China (Opened in summer 2011) and Big-O Experience in Yeosu-South Korea (Opened in May 2012). These two shows are different in their approach: Mangrove Groove is mixing live cast with multimedia elements whereas the Big-O is 100% technology.

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InPark Magazine Issue #47 (April 2013)  

A look at international issues facing the themed entertainment community

InPark Magazine Issue #47 (April 2013)  

A look at international issues facing the themed entertainment community