Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

BBC theme parks planned for China

A major attraction dedicated to the BBC Earth brand, a Top Gear World and other IP-led experiences including a family entertainment centre and a waterpark are in development for sites across China by a new Hong Kong-based company called Pinnacle International Enterprises.

Directors of the ambitious firm include Australian-born park developer and operator Alan Mahony, who previous credits include China’s Chimelong Water Park and Beijing Happy Magic Watercube, Ramayana Water Park in Thailand, Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia and Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia, former BBC Worldwide and Walt Disney executive Maggie Wong, who was also responsible for developing CBeebies English Learning Centre and In the Night Garden Edutainment Centre in Shanghai and Karin Lau who serves as managing director and is a veteran in real estate development with successful projects such as the much-acclaimed Shanghai Xintiandi.

Amongst other partnerships, Pinnacle will act as BBC Worldwide’s exclusive development partner for BBC Earth and Top Gear attractions, both fixed and pop-up. The world’s first major BBC Earth attraction, which Pinnacle will develop, build and operate, will fuse entertainment and education to create an attraction format that Mahony says will be “a real eye opener.”

Both this and the Top Gear attraction, which will be part of a new resort planned for Hainan off the southern coast of China. Already a popular holiday destination, the Hainan island cluster is set to welcome a number of new tourism developments over the coming years, including Kerzner International’s Atlantis Sanya resort opening in 2017.

“Hainan already welcomes over 40 million tourists a year, there are lots of hotels, a new third airport for the island but almost no attractions,” notes Mahony. “Chinese people are not used to spending all day on the beach either, so we see real potential here for some international standard experiences with a unique Asian touch.”

Zeitgeist Design and Production of California is currently working on design development concepts for both BBC branded experiences, with the exact nature of Top Gear attraction still to be decided, although it is expected to be loosely based on a FEC format that will celebrate the hit motoring show from the BBC.

Together the two projects represent an investment of RMB10 billon ($1.5bn/€1.4bn) and are expected to open by 2020 as part of a wider resort in Wencheng (in the northeast of Hainan) which will feature three theme parks, a waterpark, 11 museums and 26 hotels. More projects from Pinnacle elsewhere in China will be announced in due course.

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