CHRIS YOSHII Helen Patenall asks Yoshii about his role as president of TEA’s Asia Pacific Board and the trends and challenges being faced by the ever-expanding Asian attractions industry
Tell us about your background I grew up in Los Angeles and had the good fortune to visit Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm (when it was a farm), Universal Studios (when it was just a tour) and Magic Mountain. Going to theme parks was just something we did for birthdays, school events and when family visited. Looking back I can see how local theme parks can be such a great place for children and families to enjoy. Tell us about your work at AECOM I have two hats. I head up the Economics practice for the Asia region with very key leaders in China and South East Asia. I started up the practice 10 years ago and we are now one of the largest economic planning groups in Asia and, possibly, also in the world. I also head up the Leisure Market Sector, which looks after all the business development activities for the full range of AECOM services for leisure and entertainment projects. This includes economic services, masterplanning, landscape, architecture, engineering, program management and cost management. 160 ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK 2015-2016
What trends can you see in the attractions industry? In Asia, there’s certainly a boom in new development. Last year, 25 new theme parks, water parks and indoor entertainment facilities opened in China alone. We have a hard time even tracking the volume. I see a lot of innovation, with new formats and scales being tried out, both indoor and outdoor. International IP are heading en masse to Asia while local parks are simultaneously expanding their own brands and products. Unfortunately there will be failures along the way as some parks are poorly conceived and under funded. Yoshii holds key roles in TEA and AECOM What are the challenges of working globally and in Asia? Fortunately, there’s a huge focus of projects and investment in Asia’s leisure sector. However, these are complex projects and while there’s a lot of discussion, not many projects get built with the commitment to timeline and budget necessary for a good project. The challenge is about finding the right opportunity and the right partners.
You head up the TEA Asia chapter – what is this aiming to do and why? The attractions industry is very new in Asia and there is very little understanding of how to pull off projects. New design companies and manufacturers are joining the market with little real experience or knowledge. The attraction industry (as with the rest of the world) is highly fragmented. At TEA we are trying to educate the market as well as provide a platform for small and large www.attractionshandbook.com